Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer – Prostate Cancer

Although some cancers may grow so slowly that treatment may not be needed, other grow fast and are a threat to life. Determining the need for treatment and the type of treatment can be a difficult decision.There are a number of ways to treat prostate cancer. However, the choice will mostly be up to the doctor to determine which ones may be appropriate depending on the stage of the disease and grade of the cancer as well as the age and health of the patient. However, the longer the patient’s life expectancy, the more uncertain the prediction and choice of a treatment method becomes, as most prostate cancers progress with time. The feelings of the patient and the possible side effects are also to be taken into consideration.Treatment for prostate cancer may involve watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, or hormonal therapy. Some men receive a combination of therapies. A cure is probable for men whose prostate cancer is diagnosed early. However, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy all have the potential to disrupt sexual desire or performance for a short while or permanently. Therefore it is advisable to discuss your concerns with your doctor.Two major treatments have been proved to be efficient in eradicating localized prostate cancer: surgical removal of the prostate and vesical vesicles (radical prostatectomy), and radiotherapy (external beam radiotherapy and interstitial radiotherapy). It is admitted that patients who will benefit from these treatments are those whose life expectancy exceeds 10 years. No benefit is expected in older patients who are likely to die from another disease. However, for those with metastatic prostate cancer, hormone therapy or chemotherapy would prove more effective although radiotherapy could also be used.Surgical (Radical Prostatectomy)Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire prostate, the seminal vesicles, the tissue immediately surrounding them, and some of their associated pelvic lymph nodes. It is appropriate for men for whom it is believed the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.The major advantage of radical prostatectomy is that because prostate cancer may be scattered throughout the prostate gland in an unpredictable way, the entire prostate must be removed so that cancer cells are not left behind. Many experts consider radical prostatectomy to be the gold standard treatment in young patients having organ-confined disease. Indications for radical prostatectomy are presumably curable tumors in patients whose life expectancy is above 10 years.Radiation Therapy for Prostate CancerRadiation therapy, also sometimes called radiotherapy, is a general term used to describe several types of treatment including the use of high-powered X-rays, placement of radioactive materials into the body or injection of a radioactive substance into the bloodstream. These various types of radiation treatments are used in a wide range of settings. These circumstances include primary treatment of localized prostate cancer, secondary treatment for cancer recurring within the region of the prostate and for relief of pain and other symptoms related to prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.The curative indication of external-beam radiotherapy is similar to that of radical prostatectomy: organ-confined cancer in patients with a life expectancy above 10 years. The treatment generally involves a 7-week course of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is considered to result in lower rates of incontinence and erectile dysfunction than with radical prostatectomy. The major side-effects of conventional external radiotherapy are urinary irritative symptoms and bowel complications.Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer
When the prostate cancer is more advanced, and has spread to other parts of the body, treatment includes reducing the testosterone (male hormone) that supports the prostate and its tumors. Hormone therapy reduces symptoms and prevents further growth. Hormone therapy is achieved by either surgery or medication. Testosterone can be reduced by removing the testes; the operation is called a bilateral orchiectomy. The other commonly used option, however, is chemical castration – injecting synthetic LH-RH analogs every three to four months to suppress the natural production of testosterone. In doing so, it deprives the cancer cells of an element needed for growth. Using a number of medications, hormonal therapy attempts to nullify as much as possible all male hormone effect on prostate cancer cells.There is also evidence that prostate cancer patients whose disease has spread to the lymph nodes will encounter prolonged progressive-free survival and a better quality of life with early hormonal therapy. While hormonal manipulation causes prostate cancer to shrink in 85 to 90 percent of a prostate cancer patients, total and durable eradication of the disease is unlikely. The good news is that hormone therapy may control prostate cancer for many years. The current hormonal therapy standard of care is, once initiated, to continue hormone therapy for life.However, while hormonal therapy can put your cancer in check, there are unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting, hot flashes, anaemia, lethargy, osteoporosis, swollen and tender breasts and erectile dysfunction. Evidence indicates that hormonal treatment when combined with radiation increases survival duration.ChemotherapyChemotherapy refers to drug treatment using single drugs or a cocktail of several medications aimed at destroying cancer cells. The drugs circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream and can kill any rapidly growing cells, including both cancerous and non-cancerous ones. Chemotherapy drugs are carefully controlled in both dosage and frequency so that cancer cells are destroyed while the risk to healthy cells is minimized. Often, it is not the primary therapy for prostate cancer patients, but may be used when prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland. Over the past 10 years chemotherapy treatments have been shown to improve pain control and survival for patients with advanced prostate cancer, who have progressed despite hormonal therapy.Common side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of drug used, dosage and length of treatment. For prostate cancer patients, the most frequently used chemotherapy regimen is docetaxel and prednisone. The most common side effects of this regimen are fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, hair loss, taste changes and a decrease in blood cell counts that result in an increased risk of infections.Watchful WaitingWatchful waiting/deferred treatment consists of a standpoint strategy until an active treatment may be required. Only patients with good compliance and easy access to healthcare should be candidates for watchful waiting. These men are counseled, and reviewed regularly with clinical examination and PSA measurements. The support for such management is based on the natural course of prostate cancer progression, which has been proved to be slow. Commonly, deferred treatment is indicated in asymptomatic old patients (life expectancy being less than 10 years because of age or debilitating conditions) with localized or locally advanced cancer. It is prudent to perform re-biopsy to avoid under-staging of the tumor.Active SurveillanceActive surveillance is traditionally reserved for men with small-volume and low-to-moderate-grade prostate cancer, who have a low risk of death from prostate cancer. During active surveillance, men are followed closely with serial PSA, DRE, transrectal ultrasounds, and repeat prostate biopsies at regular intervals. It is different from watchful waiting in that men on active surveillance may elect treatment for cure when their disease appears to be changing and becoming more aggressive. The goal of active surveillance is to allow men to maintain their quality of life when the disease is slow growing or inactive but still allow them to be cured of prostate cancer when the disease appears to become more aggressive or is growing.However, regarding the issue of prevention of prostate cancer, there is still a lingering controversy about true prevention. Consequently, most physicians believe that there is no easy substitute for a healthy lifestyle involving eating a healthy diet, avoiding dietary excesses, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting lots of exercise and being physically active, visiting the doctor on a regular basis, and most importantly achieving and maintaining a normal body weight.

Prostate Cancer: Alternatives For Prevention And Treatment – Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among men, and more specifically, it is the second type of cancer that is most deadly among U.S. men. Despondently, aside from the lack of a cure, there is not a sure guide to follow in order to prevent it beyond any doubts, but there are some actions that can be incorporated to daily life that may aid in this prevention. Generally, the best initial approach is for men to learn about the risk factors; men who find themselves with a near-average risk of developing prostate cancer – be it due to advanced age, racial background, diet, and/or family history – must consider making choices in daily life, that is, exercising, having healthier meals, among many other life-changing selections.Although there is not much substantial evidence to support them, some studies have pointed out that the choice of a diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fruits and vegetables is ideal for maintaining a healthy prostate. From a nutritional point of view, this is no surprise, for this type of diet is healthy for the human body in general, and has repeatedly proven to assist men in controlling their weight, and consequently the heart and the cardiovascular system. In studies that considered fat association with the risk of having prostate cancer, animal fats were found to be more associated to prostate cancer cases than plant-derived fats. Furthermore, some fish are also associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, more specifically those that have fatty acids (such as the omega-3) that healthily replace saturated fat in any diet. Other studies showed that diets containing olive oil, green tea and many vegetables, such as (cooked) tomatoes, soybeans and other legumes, might be linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer, particularly in advanced cases.Moreover, a physician must always accompany any supplementation to the diet; for example, calcium in excess has been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. Men in general must watch out to not exaggerate on their calcium consumption; either in daily meals, or in vitamin supplementation itself, the daily intake should not exceed 1500 mg. Also, consumption of any multivitamin is not recommended, since a man on a diet full of vegetables and fruits most likely will never need vitamin supplementation. Tomatoes have also been studied since they are well known to contain lycopenes, which are powerful antioxidants that may help diminishing or extinguishing cell damage, and such studies have shown a decrease in prostate cancer. Other antioxidant vitamins, such as selenium and vitamin E have also been the target of many studies, but with no real success or closure to the topic. However, eating all the vegetables and fruits in the world will not even come close to removing completely a man’s risk of having cancer in his prostate. Therefore, men who are currently in one of the risk groups should consider not only these improvements in daily life, but also – and most importantly – should consult a specialized doctor to discuss whether having yearly digital rectal examinations, prostate biopsies, ultrasounds and/or prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests are the recommended choices for each individual case. Furthermore, a doctor must also be consulted in cases of stress, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and depression, since treating these conditions is of utmost importance for improving survival rates of prostate cancer patients.A doctor for those cases in which risk reduction is needed may also prescribe medications, depending on the case. The two drugs that are currently under study are the hormone drugs named Finasteride and Dutasteride, because of their use in treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, which is not a cancerous condition, but also causes enlargement of the prostate. They are both 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. The 5-alpha reductase is the enzyme in the human body that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the key hormone that induces the prostate to grow. These inhibitors block the enzyme and prevent the formation of DHT, and consequently prevent prostate growth. Several studies of both these drugs have been performed in order to assess whether or not they can be useful in decreasing prostate cancer risk. In those studies, it was found that a group of men taking these drugs was less susceptible to develop prostate cancer after several years, when compared to the placebo-consuming control group; this did not interfere with death rates, on the other hand, as both groups had similar survival rates. Other drugs are currently being tested for their properties of lowering the risk of having this condition, but none have been proven yet to be helpful enough to allow doctors to recommend them to men in need.Researchers worldwide are searching for genes that may be linked in any way with prostate cancer. Some of these genes have been identified and seem to increase the risk of the carrier of having cancer. British scientists discovered the PTEN gene, which is involved with prostate cancer, and is currently under study to reveal how it works and affects cancer. Other scientists from the UK unmasked another gene, called E2F3, which seems to be overactive in advanced prostate cancer cases. This could help doctors to determine which men really need treatment, while others may only need active screening. Yet another gene, the MSR1, was discovered in the USA and is found in some families that have an ongoing history of prostate cancer, and may be important in increasing the risk of the carriers having the same condition. Hopefully in the future these studies may make it possible for doctors to perform genetic tests for prostate cancer risk as it is being done nowadays with breast cancer.While preventing and diagnosing are the first steps for dealing with prostate cancer, once it is found and confirmed, treatment is the only option. Each individual case will require different measures of treatment, depending on age and the degree to which the cancer has spread or not. Some men have tumors that grow very slowly and may never even need to be treated; in such cases, the tumor grows extremely slowly and because of this has little to no symptoms, therefore it is better to wait and monitor the patient than to give him drugs that may cause unwanted side effects. However, when the cancer is found to be aggressive, it will probably spread and, before it does, surgery is the best option. A surgical procedure to remove the entire prostate is called a radical prostatectomy, and may be done either by cutting into the patient’s abdomen and removing the prostate, or by making small cuts and using special equipment, sometimes even a robot, to remove the gland. Furthermore, if the cancer is causing discomfort by pressing on the urethra, a transurethral resection of the prostate may also be performed to relieve the symptoms. In the past, some men even went the distance by removing their testicles, in order to halt testosterone production, aiming to control and even reduce the tumor. Nowadays this treatment is not recommended in most cases, since hormone therapy can have the same effect without the need for surgery, stopping the action of the male hormone. This hormonal treatment is generally used to reduce the chances of prostate cancer returning after other treatments have been performed.Radiotherapy can be utilized to treat prostate cancer that has not spread outside of the gland, but is also effective in treating cancer that has spread and in controlling pain. In this type of treatment, a controlled beam of radiation is used to kill the cancerous cells, which in turn reduces the tumor. Radiation can also be delivered directly on the gland, by placing radioactive wires into the prostate. Some doctors use chemotherapy as well, using drugs to destroy the cancer cells, usually as a last resort if hormone therapy is not successful. Generally, a combination of these treatments is not recommended, for each individual type of treatment has its own side effects and all of them have a huge downside for those that undergo them. The best thing to do is try to prevent and know the risk factors by heart, so that one does not have to put himself through these treatments, that are uncomfortable and, in their majority, tamper with the proper functioning of the human body.