Prostate cancer has become one of the most common cancers globally. According to the statistics, 1 out of 9 men is diagnosed with this type of cancer in his lifetime. However, treating prostate cancer with success has become achievable considering the advancements in the technology used for its treatment.
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the functioning of a small walnut shaped gland that sits between the bladder and genitals in males. The function of prostate gland is to produce seminal fluid which nourishes and protects the sperms and contributes to their motility during ejaculation.
Though prostate cancer is common nowadays but it has registered low mortality under its credit as it can be treated completely using various treatment options available. In this article you’ll be enlightened about such treatment options that are accessible for prostate cancer.
What are the different stages of the prostate cancer?
To determine the appropriate treatment option for prostate cancer, one must know its following stages:
- Stage I: Cancer cells do not have aggressive growth hence confines to small area of gland.
- Stage II: Cancer cells become aggressive and may affect both sides of the prostate gland.
- Stage III: Cancer proliferates outside the site of development and affects seminal vesicles and surrounding tissues.
- Stage IV: Cancer advances to plague surrounding organs such as urinary bladder, lymph nodes, bones, lungs or other tissues and organs.
What are the factors affecting the treatment?
Before undergoing any treatment for prostate cancer you must be informed about the following factors that decides the nature of treatment:
- Stage of prostate cancer (small and ineffective or enlarged and aggressive)
- Age, lifestyle and health
- Possible side-effects
- Necessity of treating it right away
What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?
- Watchful waiting: Waiting for a small and slow growing cancer to show symptoms is a wise choice to initiate treatment. You can keep a check on the progressive severity of cancer with PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests, rectal exams, ultrasounds, and biopsies.
- Radiation therapy:This procedure employs high energy beams to destroy cancer cells. It is an option for people with other health problems or for older men. It can be done after surgery to get rid of cancer cells completely.
Two types of radiations are used:
- External: Rays that are directed to kill the cancer cells are sourced from some external machine.
- Internal: Here, small radioactive seeds are implanted through surgery by doctor into or near the target site to kill cancer cells.
- Surgery: If the cancer hasn’t spread outside the site of its development (prostate gland) then surgery can be an option considering the health of the patient. It can be of different kinds:
- Laparoscopic prostatectomy: Here prostate is removed through minimal invasions in abdomen with the help of laproscope.
- Robot assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy: This employs robots to conduct the surgery under total control of surgeons which makes it more precise, less traumatic and minimally invasive procedure.
- Nerve sparing prostatectomy: It is performed to maintain normal functioning and structure of the nerve when the cancer is entwined with the nerve itself.
- Radical prostatectomy with retro pubic approach: In this old school method prostate is removed through an incision on lower abdomen.
Common problems that follow the surgery are:
- Trouble controlling urine.
- Trouble getting and keeping an erection.
Sometimes these side effects go away after the surgery over a period of time.
- Chemotherapy: This procedure involves the usage of drugs,which can be taken directly through mouth or can be injected with the needle into the blood stream, to kill the cancer cells.
This procedure is considered when the cancer is at its advanced stage (got spread to other parts of the body).
Chemo is not for men diagnosed with early prostate cancer.
- Hormone therapy: Male sex hormone such as testosterone is responsible for nurturing the prostate cancer cells. This therapy helps destroying the cancer cells formation by inhibiting the production of testosterone or block the way these hormones function.
This Therapy includes:
- Anti-androgens: These include flutamide, bicalutamide and nilutamide, which obstruct the testosterone to reach the cancer cells.
- LH-RH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone): these ceases the production of testosterone. The medicines include goserelin, leuprolide, histrelin and triptorelin.
- Cancer vaccine: There’s no concrete report of how this cancer vaccine affects the cancerous growth, but it has been observed that this really helps men to live longer with a prostate cancer as this vaccine enables immune system to fight against the cancer cells by boosting ourdefenses.
- Cryotherapy:This therapy helps killing the cancer cells by freezing them with cold gases targeted to the infected prostate. The doctor green-lit this treatment in early stage of prostate cancer.
This is not acommon approach that doctor ask his patient to go for as there is no report of how well this therapy works.