New Technology Puts Space Between Hammond Man and Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Prostate cancer patients at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center can have a more effective, comfortable radiation treatment experience


(Hammond, LA) Prostate cancer patients who receive radiation therapy at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Hammond now have access to a new, innovative technology that has been proven to provide protection from treatment side effects. Hammond resident Dan Alexander, who was recently treated using SpaceOAR and is now in remission, is confident that the new gel system designed to protect the organs was the right choice for him. SpaceOAR creates space between the prostate and rectum, and has been shown to reduce bowel, bladder and erectile damage.

Previously, in order to protect prostate cancer patients’ organs during radiation treatment, it was necessary to insert a balloon in the rectum before every radiation dose. In some cases, patients endured this procedure every day for five to nine weeks. SpaceOAR, a temporary hydrogel, is administered only once at the Cancer Center before radiation treatments begin.

“I only had to receive SpaceOAR once for my organs to be fully protected during treatment,” said Alexander. “There was no discomfort, no pain. I was able to carry on with visiting my family and enjoying retirement again. It’s pretty incredible the technology we have now.”

The SpaceOAR hydrogel is injected through the skin into the space between the patient’s prostate and rectum prior to radiation. The gel remains in place for about three months during radiation treatment and then liquefies, and is absorbed and cleared from the body in the patient’s urine.

Dr. Andrew Elson, radiation oncologist and one of the first certified appliers of SpaceOAR in Louisiana, administered the one-time injection for the patient.

“The incredible new SpaceOAR technology lets us significantly reduce how much radiation affects the areas of the body that are typically most prone to complication,” Dr. Elson commented. “Thanks to this treatment, we are seeing enhanced quality of life and long-term benefits for prostate cancer patients who are now in remission, like Mr. Alexander, as well as for many others still in treatment.”

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Louisiana, but if caught early, five-year survival is close to 100 percent. Men should begin screenings at age 50 or 45 for African Americans or those with a family history.

For more information, please call the Cancer Center at (985) 542-5000.


About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 45 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit