Treatment of prostate cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health and medical history. Treatments for prostate cancer in the early stages will differ from prostate cancer treatment in the later stages. Most prostate cancer is diagnosed in the earlier stages when symptoms of prostate cancer may not even be present or apparent. This is due to advanced screening and public information about prostate cancer. When symptoms of prostate cancer do exist, they might include frequent urination, the persistent urge to urinate, pain when urinating and other symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Other prostate cancer symptoms include unexplained weight loss, fever, pelvic pain, bloody or discolored urine, foul-smelling urine and depression. Regardless of when the cancer is diagnosed, however, you'll want to discuss all treatment options with your doctor in order to find the one that is right for you. Treatment will usually depend on your prostate cancer symptoms and whether you and your doctor decide that immediate treatment is necessary to relieve symptoms. The top treatment options for prostate cancer are monitoring only, radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy and combination therapy.
If the cancer is very slow-growing, as most forms of prostate cancer are, your doctor may recommend simply monitoring the cancer and waiting until treatment becomes necessary. Patients who are older, have serious health problems, and have low-grade prostate cancer will more than likely be told to avoid treatment unless it becomes absolutely necessary, as treatment could have negative effects on your overall health without giving much benefit in return. Chances of dying from low-grade prostate cancer are generally very low.
For those who do opt for treatment, radiation is one of the oldest ways to treat prostate cancer, and still has a promising success rate. These days, doctors can use radiation therapy to directly target prostate cancer cells with high doses of radiation. This increases the effectiveness of treatment without putting you at risk for more side effects. There are several different types of radiation therapy, and your doctor can help you decide which is best for you. The main types of radiation prostate cancer therapy include external beam radiation, radioactive seed implants, and proton therapy. For cases requiring more extreme treatment prostate cancer can be treated through surgery. Prostate cancer surgery involves removal of the prostate gland, and potentially the removal of nearby lymph nodes and glands. There are several removal methods available, depending on your surgeon.
Advanced prostate cancer may be treatable through hormone therapy. While it does not kill cancer, it can keep cancer from growing or spreading and may shrink larger tumors. The side effects of hormone therapy, however, can be difficult for some men to handle. They include decrease in sex drive, impotence, diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue. Combination therapy may also be used to treat advanced prostate cancer, especially when the cancer has spread past the prostate. A combination of therapies are used in order to most effectively treat the cancer, and may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Hormone therapy used in conjunction with radiation or surgery, for example, offers a much better survival rate than just hormone therapy or radiation alone.
If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about which treatment options might be best for you!