Understanding Prostate Cancer Treatments
Prostate cancer is a devastating disease that can impact men. Although statistics show that only 1 in 41 dies, you still have to be aware of the treatments and prevention methods.
There are also various treatments and medications that have been (and are still being) developed to help treat prostate cancer.
There are five treatments and a prevention method to follow below.
Watchful Waiting and Active Surveillance
Although it may sound like there is no treatment, watchful waiting and active surveillance monitor the cancer state and the body’s condition. This is done before deciding which treatment is suitable for you if cancer progressively develop.
Watchful waiting is usually recommended for older men and also for those who are unable to receive any treatments.
Additionally, since prostate cancer grows very slowly, it may also mean that the disease is unlikely to develop far in older men.
Active surveillance aims to avoid unnecessary treatments for harmless cancers. However, active surveillance involves an MRI scan, PSA blood test, and biopsies to ensure the progression of the disease.
Radical prostatectomy is a surgical treatment that removes the prostate gland altogether. It is usually done when the cancers have not spread to any other part of the body yet.
It is important to note that before this treatment, doctors need to check the tumour’s growth and ensure that it hasn’t spread yet. This treatment is often suggested for men below 75 years old.
Several types of prostatectomy are done to treat prostate cancer:
Open prostatectomy – The surgeon makes 8 inches to 10 inches incision below your belly to remove the gland.
Laparoscopic prostatectomy – The surgeon makes several small incisions across your belly to insert cameras and surgical tools. The operation is done outside the body, and the surgeon controls it from a monitor.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy – The surgeon makes several small incisions across your belly. However, an advanced robotic system (controlled by the surgeon from a 3D screen) will assist the surgeon during the operation.
Like any other surgeries, prostatectomy also has its risks. The most well-known side effects after the surgery are erectile dysfunction and inconsistent urination.
Because prostate cancer develops due to testosterone, hormone therapy is among the most suggested treatments for prostate cancer patients. It is typically done along with radiotherapy to increase the chances of success.
The primary purpose of hormone therapy is to block the effect of testosterone hormone by stopping its production or stopping your body from being able to use the hormone.
Usually, hormone therapy is done with injection, tablets or pills, or the combination of pills and injections.
Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is mostly done when you are still in the early stages of prostate cancer. It can also be used when cancer reoccurs after surgical treatment.
Radiotherapy involves the use of radiation to kill the cancer cells. Some surgeons might also recommend you to undergo hormone therapy first before radiation therapy to increase the success rate of the treatment.
There are some side effects of undergoing radiotherapies such as diarrhoea, loss of pubic hair, tiredness, and cystitis.
A more advanced treatment deriving from radiotherapy is called brachytherapy. It is also called internal radiation therapy as it involves the insertion of radioactive sources directly into the prostate.
These sources are called seeds and implanted into a tumour surgically. When the seeds are left in a tumour for a short time (high dose brachytherapy), it is removed in less than 30 minutes, but it may need to be done more than once. However, if the seeds are left in a tumour for a long time (low-dose brachytherapy), it can stay for one year before it is finally removed.
The term cryotherapy or cryosurgery might not sound strange to you as it is now starting to be commonly used for various illnesses. Cryotherapy for prostate cancer works by freezing the cancer cells to kill them.
Tiny needles or probes are inserted to the prostate gland through the rectum. Moreover, then, through these needles, the doctor will freeze and kill the cancers cells. However, with this treatment, normal cells might also die from the freeze.
Cryotherapy’s long-term effects are not known yet, and the treatment itself is still under clinical trial.
To understand more about prostate cancer and its various treatments, you can consult directly with certified and experienced medical professionals through the Okadoc app.
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