Prostate cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer among males, affects 1 in 6 men over the course of their lifetime. Fortunately, there are very effective treatment methods available for this form of cancer, dropping the mortality rate in men to roughly 1 in 36 individuals. Even so, given that this disease kills more than 26,000 men each year in the United States alone, it is critical to understand the details of this chronic disease, including its causes, symptoms and potential treatment options.
Prostate Cancer Treatments
The most common forms of prostate cancer treatment include radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, vaccine treatments, bone-directed treatment, cryotherapy and active monitoring.
If any pre-cancerous or suspicious symptoms arise, many doctors choose to take a close monitoring approach, scheduling screenings for every 3 to 6 months, so if cancer arises, more aggressive treatment can be started immediately.
This minimally invasive procedure involves releasing cold gases into the prostate gland to freeze and kill the cancer cells. This is typically used as a second line of treatment following radiation therapy, if it is unsuccessful.
A radical prostatectomy is a solution for some men with prostate cancer, if the cancer hasn’t spread outside of that gland. This is basically the complete removal of the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue, cutting out the cancer at its source.
This is a popular option if the cancer is discovered early and can be eliminated from within the prostate. High-energy beams are used to kill cancerous cells in this procedure, which can also work if the cancer returns after a prostatectomy has been completed.
The goal of this approach is to suppress certain hormones that can stimulate the unchecked growth of cancerous cells, namely androgens. This hormone therapy can have numerous unwanted side effects but can successfully stop the growth of cancer in the prostate.
If your prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, chemotherapy is an excellent option, wherein anti-cancer drugs are pumped into the bloodstream, thereby treating cancer in many areas of the body.
This specifically designed vaccine is able to stimulate the body to solely target prostate cancer cells that may still be present in the body. This is favored for patients who have cancer, but aren’t showing any notable signs or symptoms, and has less side effects than many other treatment options.
Bone Directed Treatment
Once a cancer begins to metastasize, one of the first places it will attack is the bones and in the case of prostate cancer, this can happen rapidly. Bone-directed treatment is intended to stop the spread of cancer, more than addressing the initial occurrence in the prostate.
At a certain stage of cancer care, when no other treatments are left, palliative therapy is intended to make the patient as comfortable as possible in their final months.