Treatment Options

Treatment Options

Upon an unsatisfactory DRE or PSA test, a man has several treatment options. To confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer, a man may undergo a trans-rectal ultrasound or a prostate biopsy, which are two procedures that directly analyze the prostate and conclusively determine whether or not the cancer is present. If cancer is present, it is important that the man speak with his doctor about which treatment best suits him, and it is paramount that the man follow up with all of his doctor's appointments.

  • Watchful Waiting is a common method of treating prostate cancer, especially when the cancer is caught early on. Many men choose this method when they feel that the side effects of treating the cancer are too extreme, or those for whom other unrelated health conditions pose a greater risk to their health than the cancer. Watchful waiting is simply what its called; the doctor monitors the patient's cancer and its progression, and make decisions as further complications arise.

  • Surgery is a common way to treat prostate cancer. Many men undergo a procedure called radical prostatectomy, which is the removal of the prostate. In this procedure, surgeons remove the entire prostate, and reconnect the bladder to the urethra. Some common side effects of this procedure include bladder control problems and impotence, both of which can be remedied with other medications. This surgery can also be performed laparoscopically.

  • Hormonal Therapy is another common procedure to treat prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a hormone-based cancer, so giving a patient drugs to reduce testosterone levels can help reduce tumor size and growth. Most hormone therapies are given to men with early stage, high-grade tumors. There are three main types of hormonal therapy; two involve taking medicines to remove testosterone from the body, and the third is orchiectomy, which is the surgical removal of the testicles.

  • Radiation Therapy is another treatment for prostate cancer that involves aiming radiation at the prostate to kill the cancer. This therapy is often used along with hormonal therapy. There are four types; three of them, External Beam Radiation, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy and Proton Therapy involve aiming beams through the body at the prostate. The fourth commonly used type is called brachytherapy, in which irradiated seeds are implanted into the prostate.

  • Chemotherapy is not often used to treat prostate cancer, because the side-effects usually outweigh the benefits due to the usually slow growth of the tumor, and the older age of most prostate cancer patients. It is mainly used in men with recurrent prostate cancer, or men who were unresponsive to other treatment.