Prostate Cancer Treatment: What are Your Options?
Prostate cancer is highly common in men above the age of 75. The majority of these men will not even observe any symptoms of prostate cancer. Those who may see symptoms, may not need treatment at all. Several major studies assessed whether men with prostate cancer require treatment or whether their cancer can just be monitored without any active intervention.
Prostate cancer treatment will depend on your individual circumstances. In most cases of prostate cancer, no treatment is required. In cases where treatment is necessary, the aim is to control the disease or cure it. So that it has as little as possible effect on your daily life. Sometimes, if cancer has already spread, the goal is to reduce symptoms and increase life expectancy rather than curing cancer. Therefore it is important to choose the best cancer hospital for your treatment and consultation.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
There is no single prostate cancer treatment that is suitable for every man. There are plenty of options to choose from. Your oncologist will consider several options such as:
- The stage of your cancer. This is determined by the size of your tumor and how far it has spread.
- How quickly the tumor is growing.
- Your age and health condition.
- Your personal preferences.
Watchful Waiting or Active Surveillance
Before treating your tumor, your doctor may advise you to wait and observe if it grows or spreads. The majority of prostate cancers progress slowly. Some doctors believe it’s best to wait until it changes or causes symptoms before treating it. Your doctor will keep a careful eye on how you’re feeling while you’re waiting. With active surveillance, you will also undergo regular tests to check the condition of cancer.
Surgery can be an option if you are healthy and your cancer hasn’t spread. There are several types of surgical procedures. Your surgeon may only remove your prostate gland. In some cases, they might take it and its surrounding tissues. These surgical procedures may not have any severe effects on your health. The most common side effects include issues controlling your urine and trouble keeping or getting an erection. Sometimes these side effects go away on their own after the surgery, especially bladder control issues. Consult your surgeon ahead of time to see if they believe they will be able to protect the nerves around your prostate from these side effects.
In this method, high-energy beams similar to X-rays are used to kill cancer. This method is used often in early-stage cancer or when it is still in your prostate. Radiation is also used after surgery to eradicate any remaining cancer cells. It can also be useful for treating cancer that has spread to the bones. There are two types of radiation:
- External: A machine directs rays from outside your body at cancer.
- Internal (brachytherapy): A doctor performs surgery to place small radioactive “seeds” near cancer.
Sometimes both treatments are combined for better results.
Prostate cancer cells require male sex hormones, like testosterone to keep growing. Hormone therapy restricts cancer cells from getting sex hormones. It is also called androgen deprivation therapy. Some hormone treatments reduce the level of testosterone and other male hormones. Other therapy types block the way these hormones usually work.
Chemotherapy is one of the most common methods of treating cancer. In chemotherapy, you take drugs by mouth or an IV travels through your body. These drugs attack and kill cancer cells while shrinking the tumor. You might choose chemo if cancer has spread outside your prostate gland.
Cryotherapy or Cryosurgery
If you have early-stage prostate cancer, your doctor may decide to freeze the cancer cells to eliminate them. They’ll use small needles or probes to send very cold gases to your prostate, which will kill the cells.
It’s difficult to state with certainty how effectively it works. There hasn’t been a lot of long-term research into utilizing it to treat prostate cancer. It isn’t usually the first treatment that a doctor suggests.
Prostate Cancer Vaccine
The majority of vaccines work by increasing your body’s defenses so that it can fight infection. Your immune system is prompted to attack cancer cells by the prostate cancer vaccine. This medication is most effective if you’ve tried hormone therapy and it’s no longer functioning. The vaccine is created specifically for you. Scientists aren’t sure if it stops or slows cancer’s progression, but it appears to help men with prostate cancer live longer.
Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatments
The treatment of prostate cancer can affect your body in different ways. As it is with most cancer treatments. Some of the most common side effects include:
- Bowel Problems
- Overactive Bladder
- Lower Sex Drive
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of your ability to get a woman pregnant
Another factor to consider when selecting a treatment is the potential for side effects. If they’re too difficult to deal with, you might want to reconsider your strategy. Consult your doctor to learn more about what to expect. They can also assist you in coping with your adverse effects.