What Is the Treatment for Prostate Cancer?
When it comes to treatment options for any type of cancer there are a few factors to consider. One is the stage of the cancer. Staging is done to let you know at what rate the cancer is progressing and the severity at the time of diagnosis. As you know, prostate cancer grows slowly and is highly curable while the cancer is within the gland itself. Other factors include age, diet and lifestyle.
Prostate cancer that is caught early has the most treatment options. One option is surgery. The gland can be removed and the cancer with it. There are different surgical options depending on your preference. Removing the prostate whole involves a surgical procedure called a prostatectomy. Before performing surgery, the surgeon will perform a procedure on the lymph nodes to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread.
A less invasive procedure is transurethral resection of the prostate. The prostate gland is broken into smaller pieces and removed through the urethra so there is no incision made. Surgery is an option for younger men that have the disease, since they have a higher chance of the cancer progressing and metastasizing as they age.
Surgical intervention has its side effects. Men who have undergone surgery can suffer from urinary or fecal incontinence or erectile dysfunction. These conditions do get better over time with drugs but some men will need further surgery to tighten sphincter muscles to control incontinence.
Another option is radiation therapy. This is also termed brachytherapy. For prostate cancer, radiation therapy is usually received through the implanting of radioactive “seeds” near the tumor. There are also other methods of radiation therapy such as external radiation.
Watching the cancer is another treatment option. This sounds like waiting for the other shoe to drop but it is not. The doctors closely monitor any changes in the size of the tumor. This works for men who have early cancers. For your part, any changes in symptoms need to be reported immediately to your doctor.
Another option that men are seeking is hormone therapy. This term is most common when talking about conditions that affect women, such as menopause. But, hormones are a part of the normal functioning of the human body, female or male.
For men, the hormone in question is testosterone. This hormone does increase the growth of the tumor. Using drugs to block testosterone from having an effect on the prostate cancer is one way to keep the tumor from growing.
When considering hormone therapy, be well informed. For tumors that are contained within the prostate, changing the levels of testosterone may do more harm than good. This therapy has been shown to help men with advanced and metastatic prostate cancer.