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Thursday, Apr 15th

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Prostate Cancer Treatment

Types of Treatment
The type of treatment given for prostate cancer depends on how advanced or widespread the disease is. At present there is no clear proof which of these treatments are best for this type of prostate cancer. Often the doctor will decide that. Particularly in older patients, it is best not to give any treatment. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of treatment, as they would affect you individually, bearing in mind your age, type of prostate cancer and general health.

Prostate Cancer Surgery Prostate Cancer Surgery
If the cancer is small and only present within the prostate gland, it is possible to treat it with an operation called a Radical Prostatectomy, in which an incision is made in the abdomen or in the perineum which is the area between the legs between the scrotum and anus. The entire prostate gland and some surrounding tissue is removed in an attempt to rid the patient of the cancer completely.

Often before the Prostatectomy is done, the doctor will do surgery to take out lymph nodes in the pelvis to see if they contain cancer. This is called a pelvic lymph node dissection. If the lymph nodes contain cancer, usually the doctor will not do a Prostatectomy and may or may not recommend other therapy at this time. Impotence and leakage of urine from the bladder can occur in men treated with surgery.

Transurethral resection
The cancer is cut from the prostate using a tool with a small wire loop on the end that is put into the prostate through the urethra. This operation is sometimes done in men who cannot have a Radical Prostatectomy because of age or other illness.

Cryosurgery is a type of surgery that kills the cancer by freezing it.

Radiotherapy is a term used to describe the use of radiation in the cure of prostate cancer. This can involve directing high–energy X–Ray beams at the prostate gland, known as External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT), or to the use of radioactive implants which can be placed inside the prostate gland, known as Brachytherapy. The use of high energy X–ray beams which can be used to target and destroy the cells within the prostate gland and surrounding area. Alternatively, it can be used to diminish bone pain.

These forms of radiotherapy are sometimes called Radical Radiotherapy. Radical radiotherapy is generally given when the cancer has remained within the prostate gland, although it can be successful when there is a small degree of spread into the surrounding tissue. It is generally given as daily treatments over a period of six weeks lasting for a few minutes each time and is not painful. You will lie on a hard couch under an X–Ray machine and will be unaware of the treatment taking place.

Temporary side–effects do occur, these include fatigue, discomfort in the back passage and nausea., If you feel you need to pass some wind, your doctor may prescribe steroid suppositories to settle these symptoms. Some patients get diarrhea due to the effect the therapy has on normal bowel tissue. Others get a burning feeling when passing urine although this generally lasts a few weeks starting at about week four and finishing after the treatment ends. Around 30–40% of men experience long–term impotence with radiotherapy. Nausea is very rare and can be treated using medicines called anti–emetics which your doctor can prescribe for you. Patients are advised to get as much rest as possible, although many carry on working during the treatment.

Palliative radiotherapy
Radiotherapy can also be used when hormone treatments have failed in order to treat bone pain caused by secondary cancers. This procedure is called Palliative radiotherapy. Between one and ten treatments are delivered to the sites of bone pain, usually with little in the way of side–effects. Tiredness and nausea can be short–lived problems associated with such treatment. The bone pain will usually improve over four to six weeks after treatment.


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