In our last post, we discussed the preventive measures and risk factors of prostate cancer.
Now we're tackling the topic of treatment.
If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, one of your first and most pressing questions may be this: "How will my prostate cancer be treated?"
Sierra Nevada Cancer Center has many options, and the selected treatment plan will be customized to your specific case. Our facility is specifically designed to make cancer treatments relaxing and comfortable, and your plan will be thoroughly discussed with you before you begin.
To give you an idea of the varieties of Treatment Options for men with Prostate Cancer, here is a brief overview:
In this more traditional treatment option, anti-cancer drugs are injected into a vein or given by mouth to enter the bloodstream and go throughout the body, making this treatment potentially useful for cancers that have spread (metastasized) to distant organs.
Unlike traditional vaccines, which boost the body's immune system to help prevent infections, a Cancer Vaccine boosts the immune system to attack prostate cancer cells in the body.
The 2 main types of radiation therapy are external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy (internal radiation). According to the American Cancer Society, "Both appear to be good methods of treating prostate cancer…"
- In EBRT, beams of radiation are focused on the prostate gland from a machine external to the body. This type of radiation is most commonly used in earlier stage cancers.
- In brachytherapy, also called seed implantation or interstitial radiation therapy, small radioactive seeds are placed directly into your prostate. This option is typically reserved for men with early stage, slow-growing prostate cancer.
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer
This treatment regimen inhibits the production of male sex hormones (androgens), blocks androgen action, or both. According to the National Cancer Institute, hormone therapy can slow prostate cancer cell growth, which is stimulated by androgens. It is also called androgen suppression therapy or androgen deprivation therapy and it may be used in conjunction with radiation therapy in men who have early-stage disease that has a high risk of recurrence or who have advanced, recurrent, or metastatic disease.
It may sound odd, but freezing the prostate may be an option for those with early-stage prostate cancer. In this procedure, called cryosurgery cryotherapy or cryoablation, very cold gases are passed through needles into the prostate, creating ice balls that destroy the gland.
According to the American Cancer Society: "To be sure the prostate is destroyed without too much damage to nearby tissues, the doctor carefully watches the ultrasound images during the procedure. Warm saltwater is circulated through a catheter in the urethra during the procedure."
This form of treatment tends to be less invasive than other prostate surgeries, but the ACS advises: "Compared with surgery or radiation therapy, doctors know much less about the long-term effectiveness of cryosurgery."
Prostate cancer, like many types of cancer, can be insidious. If it spreads beyond the gland, it might affect tissues or nearby lymph nodes. After this, prostate cancer nearly always spreads to the bones.
Enter treatment using bisphosphonates or antibodies against osteoclast-activating factors.
Bisphosphonates are drugs used to help relieve pain and high calcium levels caused by cancer that has metastasized to the bones.
According to the American Cancer Society, "These drugs work by slowing down bone cells called osteoclasts. These cells normally break down the hard mineral structure of bones to help keep them healthy. But osteoclasts often become overactive when prostate cancer spreads to the bones, which can cause problems."
Regardless of the treatment option selected by you and your oncology team, Dr. Perez feels it's important to know your care is his ultimate concern.
"Our care team understands the uncertainties inherent to a cancer diagnosis, and we're here to help you make the best decision for your specific condition," he said. "You'll have a team there to support you, every step of the way."
For more information about prostate cancer, click here.
To make an appointment to visit Dr. Perez and Sierra Nevada Cancer Center, call (775) 883-3336.