Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a complex disease that demands comprehensive care. After the disease has been properly diagnosed, treatment options will be chosen based on the stage of the cancer, the age of the patient, lifespan, and personal opinions.
Some of the treatment options for prostate cancer are as follows:
Surveillance: This method is usually recommended when the cancer is slow-growing and may never require surgery. It is also the recommended treatment option when the disease is small, and the patient is elderly. This option is not recommended for fast-growing cancer or when the patient is young enough for other forms of treatment.
Surgery: The surgical treatment option is the salient choice when the disease is fast-growing and requires immediate action. Prostate surgery is called radical prostatectomy, and the recovery rate is high when the gland along with the surrounding tissues is removed. The post-surgical side effects include erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Radiation therapy: In this treatment, high-energy rays or particles are used to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often the first course of treatment when the cancer is still in its nascent stage and slow-growing. It is also used when the disease has spread beyond the gland, has re-occurred after surgery, or needs to be kept in control until surgery. There are several types of radiation therapy used in treating prostate cancer including external beam radiation therapy, three-dimensional radiation therapy, and image-guided radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy: Chemo is the use of anti-cancer drugs by injecting them into a vein or given orally. When the drugs enter the bloodstream, and spread throughout the body, they effectively treat cancers that have spread to other organs. Chemotherapy is often used alongside surgical and hormone therapy treatments.
Hormone therapy: Male hormones stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Hormone therapy, also called androgen deprivation therapy, reduces the level of male hormones in the body to stop or minimize the growth of cancer cells. This is an oral treatment can be used in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
All of these treatments can be stand alone, or combined with other methods. Each method is performed by a different healthcare expert. For example, urologists will treat diseases of the urinary system and male reproductive system, radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy, and medical oncologists specialize in chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
A lot of factors go into deciding the right treatment option. Once your disease has been diagnosed and staged, the doctor will consider a number of factors including:
- Your age
- Other serious health conditions that you might have
- The best treatment options
- The chances of recovery and relapse
- The possible side effects
It’s important to be thorough and thoughtful in the deciding your best treatment option. Always seek out a second opinion. It’s best to talk to your doctor, your family, and consider your own feelings and outlook, in deciding your course of treatment.