When it comes to treatment for prostate, a single treatment may not treat all. Many tumors grow at a slow pace while some do not grow at all. Others grow really fast and spread to different places in your body.
In both cases, you and your doctor need to decide the best options.
The treatment required will depend on the following factors:
- Age, lifestyle and health of patient
- The severity of prostate cancer, size of tumor, and whether it has spread in the body)
For small, slow-growing tumor, the doctor may decide to keep a vigilant eye on the condition. Also referred to as active surveillance or observation, the patient may go through regular PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests, biopsies, ultrasounds, and rectal exams, to know if the cancer is getting worse. When the cancer starts growing or spreading, the doctors may recommend other treatment options.
The treatment makes use of very high-energy beams to kill the cancer. These beams are very similar to x-rays. The option is recommended for older men and individuals with certain health conditions. Some patients may also have to go through it post-surgery to eliminate any leftover cancer cells. The treatment is helpful in cases where cancer has spread to the bone. Patients may be given any of the following two types of radiation depending on their condition:
External Radiation – The machine is used outside body and directs rays at the cancer.
Internal Radiation – Also referred to as brachytherapy, the doctor performs surgery to place tiny radioactive “seeds” near or into the cancer.
In some cases, doctors may even recommend a combination of both treatments.
Healthy patients with cancer that hasn’t spread are treated with surgery. Many different types of surgical procedures are used by the doctor depending on the cancer, its severity and other factors. Some doctors may remove the prostate gland only while in some conditions; both gland and tissue around it are removed. Some of the common side effects of surgery include issues with controlling urine and getting and maintaining an erection. In most cases, these elevation possessions go on their own while others need action. It is important to consult a prostate surgeon prior to the surgery if the nerves around prostate can be protected to avoid side effects.
Male sex hormones such as testosterone are required by prostate cancer cells to keep growing. The treatment is helpful in preventing cancer cells from growing. Many doctors also refer to this treatment as androgen deprivation therapy. Many hormone treatments are aimed at reducing testosterone and other male hormone levels. Some even block the functioning of these hormones.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
The device produces sound waves. These waves are capable of delivering heat energy powerful enough to kill cancer cells. Although the success rate of this treatment is still not clear, it is being used by doctors.
This treatment option is considered ideal for early stage of prostate cancer. The doctor may suggest killing cancer cells via freezing them. Tiny probes or needles are inserted into the prostate to deliver extremely cold gasses which destroy cancer cells. The success rate of this treatment is still unclear. Hence, it is not the main treatment choice for doctors.
The prostate cancer treatment makes use of drugs for killing or shrinking cancer cells. Drugs are either given to patients orally or injected into their bloodstream. Men with early stage prostate cancer do not need chemo. Only advanced cases require it. Doctors also suggest this therapy when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.
When cancer reaches bones, the doctors introduce drugs referred to as bisphosphonates to ease pain and prevent any breakage. Medication may also be introduced to veins that send radiation to the bones.
Vaccine for Cancer
These work by boosting defenses of the body to enhance ability to fight infection. The vaccine is aimed at getting into the immune system for attacking cancer cells. The treatment works best once the patient had tried hormone therapy and failed to get results. Prostate cancer vaccine is custom-made for the patient. There is no scientific evidence if it slows down or completely slows down growth of cancer. However, it certainly helps men with prostate cancer live longer.