About prostate cancer
Roughly one in five men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Although prostate cancer can be deadly if it spreads to other organs, it is quite treatable if detected early. Surgery, radiation, and medicines to block hormones are common conventional treatment options.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
With the widespread use of prostate cancer screening tests, over 60% of men with prostate cancer may not have any symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Instead, the only sign of the disease may be an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. For some men, the tumor can be felt during a digital rectal examination.
Men with more advanced prostate cancer may have symptoms such as urination difficulties, discomfort in the pelvic area, and blood in the semen. Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate to other organs can cause other symptoms such as bone pain.
Some of the most common tools used by doctors for diagnosing prostate cancer are:
· PSA test
· Transrectal ultrasonography
Most common associated conditions
Prostate cancer treatment may damage nerves and muscles near the prostate, bladder and bowel. Side effects may include erection problems, urinary incontinence, a lowered sex drive and infertility.
Prostate cancer conventional treatments
Most common conventional treatments for prostate cancer include:
Radical (open) prostatectomy. A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the entire prostate and the seminal vesicles
Robotic or laparoscopic prostatectomy. This type of surgery is possibly much less invasive than a radical prostatectomy and may shorten recovery time.
Bilateral orchiectomy. Bilateral orchiectomy is the surgical removal of both testicles.
External-beam radiation therapy. External-beam radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation treatment. The radiation oncologist uses a machine located outside the body to focus a beam of x-rays on the area with the cancer.
Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, is the insertion of radioactive sources directly into the prostate.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is a type of external-beam radiation therapy that uses CT scans to form a 3D picture of the prostate before treatment.
Proton therapy, also called proton beam therapy, is a type of external-beam radiation therapy that uses protons rather than x-rays.
Radiation therapy may cause side effects during treatment, including increased urinary urge or frequency; problems with sexual function; problems with bowel function, including diarrhea, rectal discomfort or rectal bleeding; and fatigue. Most of these side effects usually go away after treatment.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by ending their ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is usually given by a medical oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medication.