Cancer is one of the most detested illnesses in the word. One of the most common cancers in men is the cancer of the prostate wherein malignant cells found their way to the tissues of the prostate gland. The prostate is found in the male reproductive system and lies just beneath the bladder and located in front of the rectum. In this article on prostate cancer treatment options information will be given in detail on every kind of cure available.
As a matter of fact, 1 out of 5 men in the US is diagnosed with this kind of cancer. You may know if you have prostate cancer if you are experiencing either frequent urination or interrupted flow during the process. However, it is still best to consult your doctor if you have such symptoms to rule out other diseases with the same symptoms and necessary diagnostic tests are done to ensure that the appropriate diagnosis is made.
Subjecting yourself to a prostate cancer treatment as early as possible will be beneficial so that the malignant cells are prevented from spreading to other areas. The treatments for prostate cancer rely on a number of factors like the stage of cancer you are currently in, how quickly it spreads on your body, the side effects of the treatment and your general health condition on whether you can tolerate treatments or not. There are a lot of prostate cancer treatment options that can target your specific needs.
1. Active Surveillance
In reality, some men who have been diagnosed at an early stage may not need advanced prostate cancer treatment at all. All you have to do is to subject yourself to an active surveillance wherein you have regular blood tests, biopsies and rectal exams to check on the progression of cancer. This is usually best advised to men whose cancer is progressing at a slow pace and only a small area of the prostate is affected. Active surveillance is also good for men who have other medical conditions and are old enough which makes treatment hard.
2. Radiation Therapy
In radiation therapy, high-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells in the prostate area and when the cancer cells spread outside the prostate. There are two types of radiation therapy that you may choose from:
External Beam Radiation Therapy or EBRT where the radiation comes from an external machine outside your body. This is usually used to treat earlier stages of cancer and help alleviate symptoms like pain. The treatment is usually 5 times a week for 7 to 9 weeks and is absolutely painless.
Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy where radioactive seeds are placed inside your prostate. This is usually used for men who have earlier stage of prostate cancer and those who have no diagnosed urinary problems. This is also not advisable to people who already went through transurethral resection of the prostate and those who have large prostate glands.
3. Hormone Therapy
The hormone testosterone serves as the food of the cancer cells (for them) to survive. The hormone therapy or androgen-deprivation therapy aims to stop the release of testosterone and prevent it from helping prostate cells. However, on the long course of hormone therapy, the cancer cells gets used to it and develop tolerance making them less effective against cancer. Hormone therapy includes:
Removal of the testicles or orchiectomy which will reduce testosterone levels inside your body considering that testicles are the one responsible for the secretion of testosterone.
Drugs that inhibits testosterone production such as the luteinizing hormone – releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists which aims on the prevention of signals received by the testicles to create testosterone. Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) blocker also helps by blocking any messages from the brain that tells the testicles to produce testosterone.
Drugs that blocks testosterone to reach the cancer cells like the anti-androgen drugs.
Chemo is primarily used to treat cancers that have spread to the different parts of your body. This type of prostate cancer treatment works by destroying cancer cells through meddling on the way they multiply. You should take note though, that chemotherapy is not a cure to cancer but rather just a means to keep the multiplication process under control and lessen symptoms such as pain.
As cryo is a Greek word which means icy cold, cryotherapy is a treatment where the cancer cells are killed by freezing. Though this type of therapy for cancer is still under clinical trials and its long-term effects are still to be proven, cryotherapy is sometimes used to treat those who have localized prostate cancer. This treatment intends to kill as many as cancer cells as possible with minimum damage to healthy ones, however, some normal cells also die because of the cold being used in the treatment when the prostate gland is frozen. Though it is unusual that cryotherapy causes rectal problems, it is possible to have side effects such as erectile dysfunction (2-9 affected persons in every 10 patients) and incontinence.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. One of the treatments for prostate cancer is the high-intensity focused ultrasound which uses heat to kill cancer cells. The side effects of HIFU are somewhat similar to the side effects brought about by cryotherapy. Though this practice is still considered as experimental in the US, this has already been used in Europe for several years.
Surgeries. The main aim of the surgery is to remove the tumor and surrounding tissues to prevent the spread of cancer cells. There are a lot of surgeries that you and your doctor may choose from depending on several factors of your cancer and your general health condition.
- Radical Prostatectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of prostate gland. Most often, the entire prostate gland is removed along with its surrounding tissues to prevent the cancer from spreading.
- Orchidectomy is the removal of the testes as discussed under hormone therapy.
- Transurethral Resection of the Prostate is the removal of the inner prostate gland that surrounds the urethra. This is usually used to treat men with enlargement that is not cancerous.
- Laparoscopic Prostatectomy is just like the radical prostatectomy but with the help of a laparoscope which is a tiny camera that aids the doctor to see what is inside.