There are several different treatment options for prostate cancer depending on the person’s age, stage of the cancer, how soon it is spreading. Treatment options include:
- Surgical Removal of Prostate
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Freezing Prostate Tissue
- Biological / Autoimmune Therapy
If you have not read about Symptoms, causes and diagnosis of Prostate Cancer, you may read it by clicking on the following link:
Prostate cancer symptoms, causes & diagnosis
If the urologist infers that the cancer is of less risk and spreading very slowly, he/she may not start treatment right away. Very rarely, some men may not need any treatment at all. However, you may be put on surveillance. Surveillance is a phase when you will be put under observation to monitor the growth and spread of cancer in your prostate. During this phase, you will need to see your urologist regularly and get tests done to know the exact status of the cancer.
Active surveillance will be an option to those men in who the cancer is spreading very slowly, confined only a small area in the prostate and is not showing any symptoms. This may be considered in men who are aged and /or are suffering from other serious health conditions (where surgery or other treatment may not be an option).
Prostate cancer treatment option 1 – Surgical removal of Prostate
Surgical removal of prostate, radical prostatectomy involves removing the prostate gland, a little bit of tissue surrounding it and also few lymph nodes. This surgery can be performed in two ways:
- Robot assisted surgery – Several incisions will be done on your abdomen through which some tools will be inserted into the body. The doctor will sit in a different location, operating on a machine which control the probes inserted into the patient’s body. This is the very latest technology using which more precision can be achieved than normal incision based surgery. Your urologist has to be really trained and experienced in using this technology.
- Incision based removal – This procedure involves making an incision on your abdomen. The prostate gland is then taken out through the incision.
When your urologist suggests that this is the best option for you, you need to discuss all the pros and cons of this surgery because, removal of prostate results in erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
Prostate cancer treatment option 2 – Radiation therapy
Any radiation therapy involves focusing high energy beams on to the cancer cells effectively killing them. Prostate cancer radiation therapy is usually done in any of the following two ways:
- Radiation that comes from outside the body – This procedure involves subjecting your prostate to high radiation coming from a machine placed around your abdomen. The radiation will be focussed on to the tumor in the prostate. This needs to be done five days a week for several weeks.
- Brachytherapy – Radiation that comes from inside the body – In this procedure, the doctor places rice sized radioactive seeds that emit radiation in the prostate. These seeds emit radiation continuously which kills the cancer cells. Once the seeds stop emitting radiation, they don’t have to be removed.
The side effects of radiation therapy involve painful, frequent and urgent urination, loose and painful stools.
Prostate cancer treatment option 3 – Hormone Therapy
Prostate cancer grows on the testosterone released by the body. In hormone therapy, the aim is to reduce or stop the production of testosterone produced by the body. Depending on the age and after evaluating other treatment options, your urologist may discuss this treatment option with you. Reduction of testosterone in the body will be achieved in any of the following ways:
- Medications that stop the body from making testosterone. These medicines stop the testis from receiving brain signals that tell them to produce testosterone.
- Medications that stop testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. As a result, the growth of the cancer cells slows down.
- Orchiectomy – removal of testicles to reduce the production of testosterone.
This may be an option to your urologist if the cancer is in early stages. Hormone therapy may be followed by radiation therapy to achieve higher rates of success.
Prostate cancer treatment option 4 – Freezing prostate tissue
Cryosurgery or Cryoablation involves freezing the tissues that are harbouring cancer cells in the prostate. In this procedure, cold gas is induced into the tissues and the tissues are frozen. Then another gas is induced so that the tissues are heated. This process is repeated several times so that the cancer cells are killed. In this process, tissues surrounding the cancer may also die.
Prostate cancer treatment option 5 – Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy involves using medicines that can kill cancer cells anywhere inside the body. Chemotherapy drugs are injected into the body through veins or pills or both. This option may be considered by your urologist when the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer treatment option 6 – Biological therapy
In this treatment method, the immune system is trained to kill cancer cells. Some of the immune cells are taken from the body, genetically trained (modified) and then injected back into the body. These cells will be capable of killing the cancer cells.
Once you submit yourself to your trusted urologist after diagnosing Prostate cancer, discuss all possible side effects, pros and cons of the treatment method that he/she suggests. It is important you pick only experienced urologist in your city because of the possible post operative risks and the side effects each treatment option has. GAURI – Urogynecology Clinic, Chennai has highly trained and experienced doctors who have been treating urological problems (including prostate cancer) for the past 28 years. Should you need an appointment for consultation or a second opinion on your prostate related problems, please call +91 909 284 9786