Prostate cancer treatment begins with diagnosis which involves the combination of annual rectal examination and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA test measure the prostate-specific antigen level which is normally present in small amount in men with healthy prostates.
Increased PSA level is an indication of prostate cancer which increases the production of PSA in the prostate gland. Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed, there are different types of treatment for treating prostate cancer and these may include watchful waiting, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, cryotherapy, and prostate surgery.
Watchful waiting or active surveillance is carefully monitoring the progression of prostate cancer after diagnosis. Prostate cancer tends to grow very slowly and most elderly patients diagnosed with prostate cancer chose to delay treatments due to complication and side effects from prostate cancer treatment. Some may decide to prolong treatment because they enjoyed current lifestyle and physical heath and do not wish for this to be interrupted by the treatment. During watchful waiting patients visit the doctors every three months in which the PSA test are taken to monitor the growth of prostate cancer. In some cases, prostate cancer may grow rapidly and if detected early during watchful waiting, immediate treatments may be required to destroy the cancer.
Chemotherapy use drugs to kill cancer cells which can be taken orally or administered by injection. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment because the drugs affect the entire body through blood circulation. The drugs work by destroying cells that divides very quickly throughout the body and cannot be use to target specific area of the body. Chemotherapy is normally used to treat advanced stages of prostate cancer where other treatments may have failed and is not recommended for early treatment due to severe side effects which may include vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and increase susceptible to infections.
Hormone therapy involves the use of drugs, hormone, or surgery to slow the growth of prostate cancer. Male sex hormones such as testosterone and androgens are responsible for the growth of prostate cancer. There are several prostate cancer treatments that use hormone therapy and these may include Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists, antiandrogens therapy, and orchiectomy.
• LHRH agonists prevent testicles from producing new testosterone.
• Antiandrogens therapy use androgen-blocking drugs or hormones to slow the growth of prostate tumors.
• Orchiectomy is a surgical procedure that removes one or both testicles to significantly decrease androgens that is responsible for prostate cancer growth.
There are several side effects associated with the
use of hormone therapy and these may include lower sexual desire,
erectile disorder, breast tenderness, and
Radiation therapy uses high beam of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. There are three types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment and these may include external beam radiation therapy, 3- dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), and internal radiation therapy.
External beam radiation therapy use a machine to deliver X-ray beams to the prostate gland. Some of the side effects associated with this treatment may include enlarged prostate, inflamed urinary bladder, diarrhea, erectile disorder, and fatigue.
3D-CRT uses computer software and computer simulation to determine the exact location of prostate gland for precision targeting with increase radiation beam.
Internal radiation therapy uses radioactive substances which are implanted into or near the prostate gland. Some of the side effects associated with this treatment may include difficult or painful urination, rectal bleeding, and erectile disorder.
Biological therapy uses the body immune system to fight cancer. White blood cells are an important part of immune system which helps to fight bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Biological therapy use a substance called biological response modifier (BRM) which help to boost the immune system to fight and kill cancer cells. There are different forms of BRM used in biological therapy and these may include interferon, interleukin, colony stimulating factors (CSF), and monoclonal antibodies. This type of prostate cancer treatment may involve the use of a single or the combination of BRM which is administered by injection. Some of the side effects associated with this treatment may include chills, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Cryotherapy use extreme cold temperature to destroy cancer cells. Cryotherapy is used on patient with cancer that is more resistance to radiation therapy. This method of prostate cancer treatment involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy cancer cells. Some of the side effects may include inflame genitals, burning sensation during urination, blood in urine, and erectile disorder.
There are several types of prostate surgery and these may include the following.
• Pelvic lymphadenectomy is surgical procedure that removes the lymph nodes in the pelvis and to look for cancer cells that may have spread to surrounding regions.
• Radical retropubic prostatectomy is surgical procedure that removes the prostate cancer and lymph nodes through an incision made on the abdomen.
• Radical Perineal Prostatectomy is surgical procedure that removes the prostate cancer through an incision made between the scrotum and anus. The lymph nodes may also be removed from a separate incision in the abdomen.
• Radical laparoscopic prostatectomy is surgical procedure that involve the use of laparoscope instrument with camera device attached at one end which is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision that allow surgeons to look inside the abdomen and perform surgery to remove the prostate cancer and lymph nodes.
• Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgical procedure that involve the use of long slim resectoscope instrument that is inserted through the urethra to remove excess prostate tissue and to relieve urinary symptoms caused by enlarged prostate.
Some of the side effects associated with prostate surgery may include erectile disorder and urine leakage.
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