Prostate cancer treatment, After your prostate cancer has been diagnosed, staged, and graded, your physician will evaluate the unique characteristics of your cancer as well as your general health in order to suggest a prostate cancer treatment plan.
Four standard treatment options are widely available today. One or more of these may be selected by you and your physician once the pros and cons of each are carefully weighed. Additionally, a number of less common treatment options are available.
The primary goals of surgery are to remove the cancerous tissue from the body, to remove other structures that may contain cancer (such as lymph nodes), and to minimize damage to any normal, cancer-free tissues and organs that are nearby.
Radical Prostatectomy – The prostate, some surrounding tissue, and the seminal vesicles are all completely removed. This is, by far, the most commonly chosen type of surgery for prostate cancer.
This surgery can be completed by entering the body from two different sites:
Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy – The initial incision (cut) by the surgeon is made in the lower abdomen between the navel and just above the penis. From this site, lymph nodes near the prostate can also be removed and examined for evidence of cancer.
Perineal Radical Prostatectomy – The initial incision (cut) by the surgeon is made in the skin between the anus and scrotum. From this site, lymph nodes cannot be removed, so a second incision is sometimes needed in the lower abdomen to remove them.
Radiation therapy consists of the use of high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation works by damaging the DNA that is needed by cells to grow and divide.
Radiation is focused in such a way as to damage and kill as much of the cancer as possible, while minimizing the amount of healthy nearby tissue that is affected.
Radiation can be delivered to the area of cancer in two primary ways.Male sex hormones, such as testosterone, are produced naturally within the body. Prostate cancer can grow in response to these hormones, so therapy to block the production or effects of these hormones is sometimes used.
A number of different medications have been developed to accomplish this. Hormonal therapy is sometimes used alone, but it is more often used in combination with other treatments such as radiation.