If you, or someone in your life, have been diagnosed with prostate cancer it is important to understand the treatment options. Below is a brief outline on the different treatments.
Radiation therapy involves using radiated waves or particles to damage the DNA of cancerous cells. The goal is to destroy the cells in the tumor, thereby preventing them from replicating.
There are two types of radiation treatment for prostate cancer. The first is called External Beam Radiation. This method is non-invasive. The doctor will shoot radiated energy waves at the tumor from outside your body. They locate the position of the tumor using an MRI and mark the target on your skin with ink.
The second type of radiation treatment is known as Brachytherapy. In this method, small radioactive "seeds" are implanted into the prostate. One downside to this treatment is that you will be slightly "radioactive" for a while after the treatment. This means you should keep away from infants, young children, and pregnant women.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that involves injecting anti-cancer drugs into the patient's bloodstream. Chemotherapy is not a common treatment for prostate cancer. It is, however, often used if the cancer has spread from the prostate to other areas of the body. One downside is that many people suffer from nausea after chemotherapy.
In hormone therapy, drugs are administered orally. The goal of these drugs is to suppress testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. These are the hormones are called androgens. When androgens are lowered, cancerous prostate cells are inhibited from growing.
This treatment is often used if the cancer has spread, or if radiation or chemotherapy did not work the first time. It is also sometimes used before surgery in order to shrink the size of the tumor.
Some possible side effects include erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis and a loss of muscle.
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
This method uses heat to destroy the cancer cells. The heat is in the form of an ultrasound wave. A probe is inserted into the rectum. Unlike radiation, the process cannot be done from outside the body. The probe needs to be placed inside the body.
High-intensity focused ultrasound is used in both cases of new and recurring prostate cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, the treatment itself is not toxic and will not cause you to get nauseous.
The other benefit to a HIFU is that you are not subjecting your body to radiation. This means that you don't have to be cautious around other people after the procedure. The process is normally an outpatient procedure that will only take a few hours.
Possible side effects is incontinence and infection. For more information, contact a center such as international HIFU.