Treatments For Prostate Cancer

741751.jpg sm The main approaches to treating early-stage prostate cancer are:

Active Surveillance
This can be a good option if your doctor believes your cancer is growing slowly and won’t spread to other parts of the body. The advantages are that you avoid all the risks associated with the various treatment options below. Disadvantages are that you’ll need regular monitoring if something changes for the worse. This is also called “watchful waiting.”Genetic testing may be an option to consider during active surveillance. Genetic testing is a method of testing where DNA is analyzed to detect any mutations in genes that can detect the rate at which prostate cancer can spread.

This is surgical removal of the prostate. Side effects may include urinary incontinence (bladder control problems) that can last for weeks, and erectile dysfunction.The surgery options include:

    • Nerve-sparing retropubic radical prostatectomy (NS-RRP)
    • Radical perineal prostatectomy (RPP)
    • Robotic and/or laparoscopic prostatectomy
    • Nonnerve sparing wide excision RP

Radiation Therapy
There are two options:

      • High-powered x-rays – These x-rays are used to kill the cancer cell. Side effects include reduced sexual function, urinary troubles, intestinal difficulty, loss of appetite and hair.
      • Radioactive seeds – Your doctor will use a special needle to implant 80 – 120 pellets the size of a grain of rice directly into the prostate. There are fewer sexual side effects but more urinary ones, and there can be damage to the rectum and lower intestines.

Radiation therapy can have various side effects, such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding, mucus discharge, or fistulas, and can cause damage to the tissues around the prostate, such as the rectum.

SpaceOAR® is a liquid gel that is placed between the rectum and the prostate. Once it is applied, the liquid expands and hardens, creating a space between the rectum and prostate. During radiation therapy, this distance between the rectum and prostate limits radiation damage to the rectal wall. Once radiation therapy is complete, SpaceOAR® is absorbed into the body after 6 months.

Hormone therapy
The male sex hormone, testosterone, stimulates cancer cells to grow. You can take drugs to block the body from making testosterone. Hormone therapy is usually not a cure; it’s just a way of stopping the tumor from growing. Side effects include breast enlargement reduced sex drive, weight gain, and reduction in muscle mass.

Cryosurgery / Cryotherapy
This involves freezing the prostate gland in order to destroy the cancer within it. Cryosurgery is an FDA-approved treatment for localized and locally recurrent prostate cancer. It may cause more sexual side effects than other local therapies, but if you’re interested, ask your doctor for more information.

An injection for the treatment of bone metastases which has shown an anti-tumor effect.

For more information on these treatments and how they can affect sexual health, click here to visit the Men’s Health Resource Center.

It is important to know that some men with prostate cancer may not need to have treatments.

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Please note: Men’s Health Network does not provide medical services. Rather, this information is provided to encourage you to begin a knowledgeable dialogue with your physician. Check with your healthcare provider about your need for specific health screenings