If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you'll be aware there are a number of treatment options available. The right treatment for you is dependent on the stage of the cancer, but it's useful to understand what the main treatments are for this illness in order to make an informed decision about your own treatment pathway. Here's an overview of three treatment options for prostate cancer:
Radiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for patients whose cancer is considered low grade. Treatment involves being exposed to short bursts of radiation, which can kill cancerous cells. Radiotherapy is administered daily for a few weeks at a time, and this treatment is delivered on an outpatient basis. Radiation treatment is delivered through a focused beam that's directed at your prostate and any surrounding areas the cancer cells have spread to. The treatment is delivered inside a machine that's similar to an MRI scanner. It takes only a few minutes at each session to administer the measured dose of radiation. After each treatment session you may experience tiredness, diarrhoea and pain or discomfort around the back passage.
Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure involving the removal of the whole prostate. It can be an effective treatment even if the cancer has spread to just beyond the prostate gland, but you may require radiotherapy after prostate cancer surgery to kill off cancer cells that have become established outside the prostate. As this is a major surgical procedure, it may not be suitable for those with other health concerns, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, but this treatment can induce long-term remission if all cancer cells are removed. When your prostate is removed, you will no longer be able to ejaculate during intercourse, so if there's a chance you may want to have a child in the future, speak to your doctor about storing some of your sperm prior to your prostate being removed.
Prostate cancer cells can't grow without testosterone, so hormone therapy can be used to either prevent testosterone being made or prevent this hormone reaching the damaged cells in your prostate. This treatment cannot cure prostate cancer, but it can prevent it from progressing further. It's particularly useful for cases where the cancer cells have spread and the cancer has become difficult to treat, as it can bring relief from your symptoms. Supressing testosterone production can cause erectile dysfunction and loss of sex drive, but these issues normally resolve if treatment is stopped.
Your doctor will be happy to discuss these treatment options with you in relation to your stage and grade of prostate cancer. They may recommend a single option or a combination of treatment approaches, and you should have an in-depth discussion about the pros and cons of their recommended approach before treatment begins.Share