Diseases Cancer

What Is the Treatment For Prostate Cancer?

Introduction

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting men. In the Unites States, prostate cancer is the second cause of deaths among the male population. The 2011 report of the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 240,890 new cases of prostate cancer and 33,720 deaths.

History

Usually, prostate cancer does not manifest symptoms until it is already at an advanced stage. However, there are certain symptoms that prevail such as difficulty in urinating, urge to urinate frequently or the inability to urinate. When the cancer has already metastasized or replicated, it can even spread to the brain causing headaches, dizziness, seizures, disorientation, and other symptoms associated with neurology illnesses. Pain and incontinence are other symptoms.

Testing men is a way to check if the disease is present in the body. However, there is a converging debate on using prostate cancer screening as a diagnostic tool. Some argue that screening might not have its benefits at all since there are also types of cancers that progress differently without needing treatment prostate cancer.

To check for prostate cancer, PSA levels are usually determined. PSA levels in countries differ, but in the US the normal ranges of PSA levels vary according to age. For instance, a PSA level of less than 6.5 for men 70 years and above is normal. Men below 50 years should have levels less than 2.5. When PSA levels are high, it can indicate the presence of prostate cancer or another illness such as infection. When blood works show high PSA levels, rectal examination is undertaken by feeling the rectum of the patient. Doctors will try to look for a hard lump in the prostate gland. A biopsy (sample of tissue from the prostate gland) will confirm the existence of prostate cancer.

Features

Based on these, there are several choices available to men when it comes to treatment prostate cancer. When there are no symptoms, the best method is to wait and see how the cancer progresses, a logical alternative to avoid the problems of erectile dysfunction and incontinence that come with treatment prostate cancer.

However, when the prostate cancer is already prominent or has symptoms that can cause discomfort or even death, there are various options of treatment prostate cancer.

Radiation therapy

The objective of radiation therapy is to remove cancer on the prostate and surrounding areas bringing pain relief to the patient. However, it will not kill cancer that has spread to organs that are far.

Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapy as treatment prostate cancer involves suppressing the hormones such as testosterone levels to prevent the disease from spreading. Drugs or injections that achieve this effect is given to the patient. However, side effects may be experienced such as erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, decreased libido, increased fluid weight, and hot flashes. These drugs are given during the lifetime of the victim. If hormonal therapy fails as prostate treatment cancer, chemotherapy may be tried or other drugs. However, chemotherapy is usually not used as a form of treatment.

Surgery

Surgery as a form of prostate treatment cancer entails removal of the prostate, useful when the cancer is confined to the prostate and surrounding areas. Prostatectomy has less impact if the growth of cancer is wide spread. Radical prostatectomy may be the effective way to remove the cancer. In this type of surgery, the prostate, seminal vesicles and deferens (partly) are surgically removed. The side effects of this type of surgery are permanent incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Tips and comments

The Gleason Score Card for Prostate Cancer (National Institutes of Health)

2 to 5 – low grade cancer

6 to 7 – intermediate cancer

8 to 10 – high grade cancer

By Marie, published at 02/17/2012
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