- Treatment Options You May Choose
- What Does Active Surveillance Mean?
- Surgical Operation: Radical Prostatectomy
- Hormone Therapy
Treating Prostate Cancer
When it comes to treating prostate cancer, there are lots of various options you have. In this article, you’ll find a list of possible solutions when dealing with prostate cancer and their descriptions. The treatment options for you to choose from are in accordance with the stage of cancer you face. Below you’ll find a list of treatment solutions for localized prostate cancer as well as locally advanced prostate cancer and just prostate cancer on an advanced stage.
Treatment Options You May Choose
The crux of the matter here is to define whether you’re fighting against cancer that has developed inside the prostate gland (referred to as localized), cancer has developed outside the prostate as well (locally advanced) or cancer that has invaded other organs of your organism. For the last case, doctors have a particular term – advanced cancer.
Of course, once the type of cancer you have is defined, you’ll be provided with a set of treatment options. You’re to either consult your doctor or specialist nurse to find out every peculiarity of possible treatment and make the right decision.
If there is a need for you to have treatment in future, you should keep in mind that the first treatment you choose is likely to have an impact on it. Therefore, you should discuss it with your doctor a specialist nurse to keep the course of the disease under control.
What Does Active Surveillance Mean?
By taking advantage of active surveillance, your doctor can keep an eye on the prostate cancer spread inside the prostate instead of trying to get rid of it right away.
Such a decision can seem to you quite strange since you may think that the safest way for you is to get rid of it and forget about ever having prostate cancer. The truth is that prostate cancer is known to grow very slowly. Consequently, it’s unlikely to bother you and cause inconvenience in daily life. This is the way the disease may be for all your lifetime. The fact is that there may actually never ever be a need for you to undergo any kind of treatment at all.
There is a number of treatment solutions that can result in various side effects. You may have bowel problems, difficulty in getting and keeping erection or your urine may leak. There are cases, when such like side effects occur on a long term basis and, therefore, cause inconvenience in daily life.
if you make a decision to choose active surveillance, bear in mind that no treatment will be provided until your tests prove that your cancer is becoming bigger. This way either no side effects at all will ever occur or they will be significantly delayed.
If there is evidence of your cancer becoming bigger, you’ll certainly be provided with the best treatment options that will aim at killing it.
Surgical Operation: Radical Prostatectomy
This surgical operation implies that both the prostate, the cancer in it and seminal vesicles are removed at once.
You can undergo the surgical operation in case you’re said to fight with localized prostate cancer and your general health state is good. This procedure is as successful at killing localized prostate cancer as external beam radiotherapy is.
Depending on how far the cancer has developed, you are also free to choose the option if your cancer has invaded just a bit outside the prostate itself.
This kind of operation is considered to be a major one. Pay attention to the fact that you’re to fit and healthy enough to be allowed to undergo it. It may be not possible to carry it out if you suffer from obesity, you’re over 75 or have a heart disease since you’ll be prone to having other problems not only during but at the recovery stage as well.
Here, high-energy X-ray beam are directed at the cancer so that to kill it. The rays are directed from outside the body. Once cancer cells get under the detrimental influence of the beams they are no longer able to grow.
Irrespective of the fact that radiotherapy is capable of treating the prostate and the area around it, some side effects may occur.
You will be allowed to undergo a course of radiotherapy if your cancer has only affected the inside area of the prostate. This cancer is called localized prostate cancer. It may also be an option if it has developed a bit outside the prostate. In this case, you’re dealing with locally advanced prostate cancer.
Radiotherapy is also prescribed if after having undergone the surgery, your PSA level starts to rise or your test results show that not all cancer was removed.
Permanent Seed Brachytherapy
What does it mean? The procedure is also referred to as low dose-rate brachytherapy. It implies that tiny radioactive seeds will be implanted into your prostate gland. The radiation from the seeds will kill the cancer. You are prescribed this procedure if the cancer is located within the prostate gland. There is also a number of factors on the basis of which you’re allowed to undergo it.
They are as follows:
- having PSA level 10ng/ml or even less;
- having Gleason score 6 or less;
- the cancer you’re dealing with is on stage T1-T2a.
Even if you’re said to have a PSA of 10 to 20 and a Gleason score 7, the procedure may be prescribed. However, mind that your tests should prove that the cancer won’t develop outside the prostate. Speak it over with your doctor or a nurse to find out if it’s your case. You may be not allowed to have the procedure if your prostate gland is quite large, you have severe problems with passing urine or you’ve recently undergone transurethral resection of the prostate (doctors call it TURP).
You may either have only this treatment or combine it with external beam brachytherapy or hormone-based therapy. The mentioned treatment options are also beneficial in fighting with prostate cancer.
There exists one more kind of brachytherapy – HDR or high dose-rate brachytherapy. Still, it’s not carried out as often as permanent seed brachytherapy.
How does it work? The idea of the therapy is stopping the hormone testosterone so that it can’t get to the cancer cells. It can cure cancer no matter if it has invaded any other areas.
Testosterone keeps the growth and development of the prostate gland under control. It’s also responsible for male characteristics involving getting and keeping erection, muscles being strong and growth of the testicles and penis. Mostly, the testosterone in a man’s organism is produced by the testicles. There are also little adrenal glands that add to it.
Actually, very often, no problems with the testosterone occur. Still, if you’re dealing with an aggressive prostate cancer, the cancer cells are very likely to grow and develop faster. To be more exact, testosterone acts as food for cancer that, if taken away, will leave the cancer starving. Consequently, the tumor will shrink, no matter where it’s located.
Of course, undergoing only hormone-based therapy doesn’t mean that it’ll kill cancer. It will help you control cancer for some time but then there will be a need for treatment. It also can be used in combination with other treatment options including radiation therapy. This way your treatment will be more efficient.
Being Prescribed Temporary Brachytherapy
This procedure is often referred to as high dose-rate or HDR brachytherapy. It implies that a source of high dose-rate radiation will be put into your prostate gland to kill cancer cells. It’s not long and takes only several minutes. You can undergo the procedure in case your cancer is localized one and is considered to be of medium risk.
Your cancer is said to be of medium risk in one of the following cases:
- you have a PSA level between 10 and 20;
- you have 7 points Gleason score;
- the stage of the cancer you’re diagnosed with is T2b or T2c.
It also so happens that even men fighting against locally advanced prostate cancer and having higher Gleason score are allowed to undergo it. You are to speak with your doctor or nurse to find out more. You are free to either have only this procedure or combine it with external beam radiation therapy or hormone-based therapy.
The treatment option involves extreme cold that freezes and thus kills the cancer cells. It is also called cryosurgery and cryoablation. On undergoing the procedure, thin needles will be put into your prostate. Then, a gas goes through them that causes the prostate to freeze thus leading to the death of the cancer cells.
If you’re dealing with the type of cancer that has only affected the insides of the prostate, you may have it as your treatment option. Also, if prostate cancer has only begun to get out of the prostate but it hasn’t yet had an impact on the area outside, you’re also free to choose it.
Besides, it’s a solution for men who face the recurrence of the disease after they have had sessions of radiotherapy or brachytherapy. However, note that it’s also possible to have this procedure first. It may so happen that cryotherapy is impossible in your case because you suffer from severe urinary problems. The key point here is that the procedure may make the situation even worse.
Actually, cryotherapy is a more up-to-date type of treatment in comparison with others. There isn’t much information on what side effects it can lead to and how efficient it is on a long-term basis. Consequently, you are only able to undergo sessions of it in the UK specialist centers or you may take part in clinical trials if you are interested in it.
Being Prescribed Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy means that there are anti-cancer agents that are detrimental to the cancer cells inside your organism. Despite the fact that it can’t cure you of cancer, it will make the tumor smaller and slow the process of its growth down.
According to the researches, such like used in chemotherapy drugs as docetaxel and cabazitaxel can prolong the lifetime in some cases. Besides, thanks to chemotherapy, your symptoms will occur later and the ones you have may be lighter.
Apart from chemotherapy, you may be prescribed to take steroids. They significantly contribute to the efficiency of chemotherapy and they will decrease the risk of you having any side effects.