The best treatment for your prostate cancer may not always be clear. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend one treatment because of what is known about your type of cancer and your risk factors. Other times, your doctor will talk with you about two or more treatments that could be good for your cancer.
In the early stages, talk to your doctor about several options, including surgery and radiation therapy. In older patients, simply monitoring the cancer with PSA tests and biopsies may be an option.
Prostate cancer that has spread may be treated with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, or chemotherapy.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy can interfere with sexual desire or performance. Problems with urine control are common after surgery and radiation therapy. These problems may either improve over time or get worse, depending on the treatment. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider.
Surgery is usually only recommended after a thorough evaluation and discussion of the benefits and risks of the procedure.
Surgery to remove the prostate and some of the tissue around it is an option when the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate gland. This surgery is called radical prostatectomy. It can also be done with robotic surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered x-rays or radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells.
Radiation therapy works best to treat prostate cancer that has not spread outside of the prostate. It may also be used after surgery, if there is a risk that prostate cancer cells may still be present. Radiation is sometimes used for pain relief when cancer has spread to the bone.
External beam radiation therapy uses high-powered x-rays pointed at the prostate gland.
It is done in a radiation oncology center usually connected to a hospital. You will come to the center from home 5 days a week for the treatments. The therapy lasts for 6 -8 weeks.
Before treatment, a therapist will mark the part of the body that is to be treated with a special pen.
The radiation is delivered to the prostate gland using a device that looks like a normal x-ray machine. The treatment itself is generally painless.
Side effects may include impotence, incontinence, appetite loss, fatigue, skin reactions, rectal burning or injury, diarrhea, bladder urgency, and blood in urine.
Prostate brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds inside the prostate gland.
A surgeon inserts small needles through the skin behind your scrotum to inject the seeds. The seeds are so small that you don’t feel them. They can be temporary or permanent.
Brachytherapy is often used for men with smaller prostate cancer that is found early and is slow-growing.
It also may be given with external beam radiation therapy for some patients with more advanced cancer.
Side effects may include pain, swelling or bruising in your penis or scrotum, red-brown urine or semen, impotence, incontinence, and diarrhea.
Proton therapy is another kind of radiation used to treat prostate cancer. Doctors aim proton beams onto a tumor, so there is less damage to the surrounding tissue.
To Be Continued…