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Treatment of Prostate Cancer

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The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system which is located just below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. It surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube that empties urine from the bladder. The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of the semen.

After an individual is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the physician will determine the stage and grade level of the cancer. The “stage” means how far it has advanced. The pathologist examines the cells from the cancer under a microscope to decide how abnormal the cancer cells are to determine the “grade”. Unfortunately, the more abnormal the cancer cells, the more likely the cancer are to be aggressive or to spread quickly outside of the prostate. Proper treatment depends greatly upon the grade of your cancer.

After the physician has determined the stage and grade level of the cancer, he/she will evaluate the distinctive characteristics of your cancer and your general health in order to suggest a prostate cancer treatment plan. There are four standard treatment options available today, and a number of less common treatment options available. The individual and physician together will weigh the pros and cons so a proper treatment can be chosen.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is a form of treatment is used when the cancer, or tumors, remains in the prostate. Radiation therapy, which is using x-rays to kill the cancer cells,

Radical Prostatectomy

This is a surgical procedure which uses general anesthesia to remove the entire prostate gland and nearby lymph nodes. A catheter is then inserted into the bladder through the penis to carry urine out of the body until the area heals.

Radiation Therapy

There are two types of radiation therapy: external beam radiation therapy and radioactive pellets, called seeds.

External beam radiation treatment is radiation given from a machine, like an x-ray machine. This form of therapy is given five days a week over seven weeks. No local anesthesia is necessary. The side effects are milder than side effects that come with seed therapy.

Radioactive pellets are injected into the prostate gland, sometimes referred to as seed therapy or brachytherapy. Both types work about the same in curing prostate cancer. This form of therapy can be administered with just one hospital visit. This form of therapy required local anesthesia for a few minutes and shortly after, the individual can go home. A higher dose of radiation is put directly on the cancer. More discomfort after this treatment is expected.

Hormone Therapy

The reason of hormone therapy is to lower levels of the male hormones, called androgens. Androgens are produced mostly in the testicles because androgens, such as testosterone, help the prostate tumor grow. Monthly shots are given, or the testicles can be surgically removed. The prostate cancer usually shrinks once the testosterone is out of the body. This form of treatment is used in patients with cancer that has already spread beyond the prostate gland. Prostate cancer responds to one or two years of hormone therapy; however, after some time most tumors start to grow again. Once this happens, the goal is to control the symptoms. Unfortunately, no treatment will cure prostate cancer once hormone therapy stops helping.

Tumors that have grown beyond the edge of the prostate cannot be curd with either radiation or surgery; however, can be treated with hormones that slow the cancer’s growth.

After Prostate Cancer Treatment

An individual should get prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests every six months for five years, thereafter, once every year. According to familydoctor.org, a rise in PSA levels usually means that the cancer has come back. A digital rectal examination should be done once a year.

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