Prostate Cancer Treatment
Prostate cancer is a diverse disease acting differently in different men. Most prostate cancer grows slowly. This slow rate of growth along with the individualistic presentation, makes it difficult to choose the best treatment.
There are currently 3 types of treatment available for localized or locally advanced (as opposed to advanced) prostate cancer:
- Vigilant Watching
Choosing the best treatment for localized prostate cancer is generally based on the age, general health, the stage and grade of the cancer.
Waiting to see if prostate cancer progresses may be recommended when the cancer is very low grade and low stage or if the patient has other illnesses that may reduce the tolerability of surgery or radiation.
Surgery – Radical Prostatectomy
A radical prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostate gland and some surrounding tissue. This has been recommended surgery when the cancer is thought to be contained within the prostate, and the man is healthy and younger.
Radiation treatment (radiotherapy), kills cancer cells and surrounding tissues. There are two major categories of radiation therapy:
- External beam radiation – a non-invasive procedure in which high-intensity beams of radiation are directed at the specific cancer.
- Brachytherapy – involves the implantation of radioactive metal seeds or pellets into the prostate either permanently or temporarily
Hormonal Therapy Treatments
Hormonal (or hormone-suppression) therapy is designed to stop the production of the male hormones that aid in the growth of prostate cancer cells. If prostate cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage or if the cancer returns after localized therapies, homonal therapy is generally initiated.
Recent studies have also shown that the combination of hormonal therapy with radiation therapy, may be more beneficial than radiation alone.
There are several forms of hormonal therapy such as:
- Injectable drugs known as “LHRH agonists,” which halt the production of testosterone.
- Oral estrogen drugs – hormones that can stop testosterone production.
- Oral drugs known as “anti-androgens” that block the effects of testosterone without eliminating its production.
- Surgical removal of the testicles, which make testosterone, in a procedure called orchiectomy.
Prostate cancer cells do not tend to grow rapidly like some other types of cancer. For this reason traditional chemotherapy drugs have not proven to be quite as useful as they have been in some of the other major cancers. Chemotherapy is typically used with patients in advanced stage prostate cancer who are no longer responding to hormonal therapy. However, new chemotherapy drugs and combinations of drugs are currently being studied.
Experimental Prostate Cancer Treatments
Researchers are continuously seeking new prostate cancer treatments, aiming to increase increase the potency of the treatment while decreasing any side effects. The only way to prove these new treatments is to test them in patients with prostate cancer. Patients who choose to take part in such ‘clinical trials’ get the best possible medical care and also the chance to receive either a new treatment or the best known treatment. If you agree to take part in such a trial you can rest assured that the new treatment has been carefully tested to make sure it is safe.
You can only get these new treatments if you join a clinical trial. To find out more about these trials, talk to your doctor and contact the National Cancer Institute at www.nci.nih.gov or at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), or you can contact AccuTheranostics, Inc. at 877-402-2623.