Non-Invasive and Painless Prostate Cancer Treatment
With the latest in cancer technology.
Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the prostate, a small pelvic gland which sits between the bladder and the rectum. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. The good news is that in the USA the outlook for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is better than ever because most of all prostate cancers are found early, while the tumor is still localized. In these patients the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 % if they are treated appropriately.
This brief video produced by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), provides an overview of radiation therapy for prostate cancer including external beam and brachytherapy.
Enhanced Treatment Options
The treatment that will work best for you depends on several factors. These include: your overall health status, your age and the grade and stage of the prostate cancer when it is first diagnosed. It is essential for you to take the time to research your treatment options, ask questions and weigh the benefits of each treatment against its potential risk of complications and side effects, as well as its proven track record. The most common proven treatment options for prostate cancer are: surgery (radical prostatectomy, conventional or robotic), radical radiation therapy, hormone therapy and observation (watchful waiting).
Radiation is used as: 1) a curative alternative option instead of surgery; 2) if the cancer is not completely removed during surgery; and 3) if the tumor comes back (recurs) in the area after prostatectomy. Radiation is usually delivered with daily treatment sessions over several weeks using external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) with a Linear Accelerator (LINAC). Radiation therapy is non-invasive and painless. It is much like getting a regular x-ray, but for a longer time. Newer LINACS such as the ICI'S Varian EDGE™ unit allow for greater precision in treating the prostate cancer while reducing the radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissues. Actual treatment times are usually less than 2 minutes per session. These newer tools appear to offer better chances of increasing the success rate in curing prostate cancer and reducing the side effects of the treatment.
The most common curative operation for prostate cancer is called radical prostatectomy and involves removal of the entire prostate along with the adjacent glands called the seminal vesicles. Radical prostatectomy has a small but definite risk for subsequent urinary incontinence, and sexual impotence (ED: erectile dysfunction) even in the most experienced surgical hands.
The goal of hormone therapy (also called androgen deprivation) is to lower the levels of the male hormones or androgens, such as testosterone. Androgens, which are made mostly in the testicles, induce prostate cancer cells to grow. Lowering androgen levels often makes prostate cancer shrink or grow more slowly. Hormone therapy can control, but will not cure prostate cancer. It is not a substitute for treatments aimed at a cure.
Observation (Watchful Waiting)
Because prostate cancer may grow very slowly, older men with low risk tumors can be followed using laboratory and imaging exams in a rather strict protocol with no treatment given. This approach is called watchful waiting. By definition, it involves close monitoring of the patient's condition without giving any treatment until symptoms appear or change. This is usually recommended in older men with less aggressive cancer or early-stage disease. It is less often a choice if you are younger, healthy, and have a fast-growing cancer.