Diseases Cancer

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Introduction

Prostate cancer treatment options vary based on several factors including the progression of the disease and the potential side effects of the treatment. In most instances, men who have been diagnosed early with the disease will not receive treatment right away. Due to the high survival rates of men who have been diagnosed with the disease, some doctors have opted to wait to determine the proper course of treatment and whether it is going to progress to other areas of the body. The practice of waiting is most commonly used for older men or those with other underlying conditions. Prostate cancer treatment options will be presented to you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. When considering the best course of treatment, it is important to remember that a second opinion is always an option. A second opinion will provide you with more information so that you can decide what is best for you and your family.

Radiation Therapy

High-powered energy may be delivered during radiation therapy as one of the prostate cancer treatment options. The radiation is either delivered outside or inside the body. External beam radiation, or radiation therapy from outside the body, is normally performed five days a week over a period over several weeks. Brachytherapy, or radiation delivered inside the body, involves the implantation of radioactive seeds inside the tissue surrounding the prostate. Complications or side effects from both prostate cancer treatment options include frequent urination, pain when having a bowel movement or an increased risk of developing other forms of cancer such as rectal cancer.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is one of the more popular prostate cancer treatment options. The therapy involves the use of hormones to kill cancerous cells. Hormone therapy is given to keep the body from producing the testosterone the cancerous cells need to grow. Hormone therapy can also include the use of medications to prevent any testosterone that is produced from reaching the cancerous cells and feeding them. Commonly prescribed medications include leuprolide, histrelin and nilutamide. Hormones may also be prescribed if the physician has opted to remove the testicles as part of the treatment program for the prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is not without its potential side effects. The therapy could lead to an increased risk of heart disease and lead to erectile dysfunction. Some people who have undergone the therapy have also reported a decreased sex drive and significant weight gain.

Surgery

In rare instances, prostate cancer treatment options may include surgical removal of the prostate gland. Surrounding tissues and lymph nodes may also be removed during the process. The incision for the procedure is either in the abdomen or anus and scrotum. An oncologist may also opt to use several small incisions on the abdomen to perform the procedure. The surgery is sometimes completed with the aid of a robot. Prior to opting for surgical removal as one of the prostate cancer treatment options, your physician will discuss with you the various options present. Surgery is considered a last effort when the cancer is in its advance stages. Complications from prostate removal range from urinary incontinence to erectile dysfunction.

By Laurel Moore, published at 02/22/2012
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