Prostate cancer is an extremely common form of cancer which is thought to affect more than 3 million men in the United States every year. It begins when cells in a man’s prostate gland start to grow abnormally. Physical symptoms of prostate cancer are not common in the early stages of its development. When symptoms do occur, they are usually related to problems with the bladder and other surrounding organs that are affected by the swelling of the prostate. Fortunately, treatment for prostate cancer is highly-effective, especially if the cancer is diagnosed during an early stage. There are several options available. This article will cover some of the most common choices.
Types of Treatment
There are several ways to treat prostate cancer once it has been diagnosed. The best treatment option will depend on how advanced the cancer is and how fast it is growing, as well as considerations of the patient’s overall health. Doctors generally try to use the least invasive method to treat cancer and consider the patient’s overall quality of life and ability to withstand the effects of treatment. It is important for a patient to be aware of all their options and understand potential side-effects and survival rates related to each one.
Active surveillance is a treatment option that is more about keeping an eye on the cancer than treating it. This option is the least invasive one available, but it doesn’t eradicate the cancer. It is used when the cancerous growth is small and growing slowly without causing any symptoms or affecting any other organs. If the cancer is not causing any life-disruption and is not likely to grow or spread, then there is no reason to go through invasive and painful treatments to get rid of it. This option requires frequent check-ups to make sure that the cancer continues to grow at a slow rate and doesn’t pose any other health risks. If anything changes then a more aggressive option may be required.
Surgery is one of the most common choices for treating prostate cancer if it has not spread to any other organs. This option is usually carried out in the form of radical prostatectomy, in which the entire prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue is removed from the body. This method is highly effective and works by removing the entire cancerous tumor before it can spread to any other part of the body. However, there are risks to it which include: reactions to anesthesia, blood clots, damage to nearby organs, and infections at the surgery site. Side-effects of prostate surgery can include: urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Radiation therapy is another common prostate cancer treatment. The cure rate of radiation therapy is about the same as surgery, and radiation treatment can be used in the early stages of cancer but is also frequently employed if the cancer has spread or is reoccurring. The side-effects of radiation therapy can include: bowel problems such as diarrhea or rectal leakage, urinary difficulties, erection problems, fatigue, and lymphedema.
Even though prostate cancer can be a terrifying diagnosis to receive, there is hope. Treatment for prostate cancer is highly effective and many options are available. New forms of treatment are being developed as medical technology advances and most men who have received this diagnosis have a high-survival rate.