Prostate Cancer Treatment

A diagnosis of prostate cancer causes fear, anxiety, and denial. Often men are also confused: they may not have experienced any symptoms of the disease. Seeking out immediate prostate cancer treatment is the first impulse of many men.

In fact, prostate cancer treatment may not be needed immediately, if at all. While one in every six American males will be diagnosed with the disease, only one out of every 32 men die from the disease. Prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease, and one that is usually only detected after age 65. Often the disease progresses so slowly that the affected person dies of other causes before identifiable symptoms even appear.

Watchful Waiting

Prostate cancer treatment occurs under the care of an oncologist, a specialist in treating cancer and its symptoms. Diagnosis and testing will confirm how advanced the cancer is. If the disease is in its early stages, and symptoms are few, the oncologist may advise “watchful waiting.”

Watchful waiting monitors tumor growth and symptoms, but does not actively treat the disease. Prostate cancer treatments can have adverse effects, including impotence and urinary incontinence. If symptoms are not interfering with quality of life, and if the tumor is indolent (slow growing), your oncologist may suggest that you put off treatment to avoid these side effects. Regular checkups and changes to lifestyle may be enough to maintain health.

Watchful waiting is not foolproof. If the tumor continues to grow, symptoms may develop or worsen. In addition to being complications of treatment, impotence and incontinence can develop from the disease. However, this risk is balanced by reducing the risk of side effects. And, of course, any change in your condition can be discussed with your oncologist. If warranted, treatment can then begin.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

If and when you do require medical intervention, a number of possible options exist. There are several treatments that your oncologist is likely to suggest. There are issues to consider before making these important decisions. Read on to learn more about those issues and to get the important questions you should ask your doctor.

Radiation Therapy: The tumor cells are attacked with radiation and x-rays. New advances in radiation therapy make it possible to deliver the radiation directly to the prostate. Keep reading to learn more about radiation therapy.

Medication: Hormone therapy can slow the development of the tumor. In cases where the cancer has metastasized, chemotherapy offers palliative care and relieves symptoms. Read on to learn more about the various drug therapies available to battle prostate cancer.

Surgery: Surgery may be used to remove portions of the prostate, or to treat symptoms. In severe cases, a radical prostatectomy may be necessary. Keep reading to see if surgery is the right option for you.

This site offers an overview of treatment issues, where the complications and side effects of medical intervention are discussed. While not intended to replace professional medical advice, this site will leave you better informed about your options.

Resources

American Foundation for Urologic Disease. (nd). How is prostate cancer treated? Retrieved January 27, 2003 from www.afud.org/conditions/pctreat.html.

US TOO! International, Inc. (nd). How is prostate cancer treated? Retrieved January 24, 2003 from www.ustoo.com/options.html.