Treatment for Prostate Cancer
What Options Are Available? continued...
Scientists also are studying other types of treatment in clinical trials. They test new therapies to see if they’re safe and if they work. Some of the ones researchers are looking into now include:
- Cryotherapy or cryosurgery. They treat cancer located only in the prostate. Doctors use probes that give off extreme cold to freeze the tumor’s cells.
- High-intensity focused ultrasound. The opposite of cryotherapy, this treatment uses a probe that gives off high heat, which kills cancer.
- Proton beam radiation therapy. A type of radiation, it uses very small particles to attack and kill cancer cells that haven’t spread.
Ask your doctor if you might benefit from joining one of these trials.
Are There Side Effects?
The treatments for prostate cancer also can affect your body in other ways. Side effects can include:
- Bowel problems
- Lower sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of your ability to get a woman pregnant
- Leaky bladder or loss of bladder control. You might also need to pee a lot more often.
Side effects are another factor to think about when you’re choosing a treatment. If they’re too tough to handle, you might want to change your approach. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect. He can also help you find ways to manage your side effects.
What Else Should You Consider?
Remember, you have options, and it’s important to choose the one that works best for you. When choosing a treatment, think about:
- The risks. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each type of therapy.
- The side effects. Consider whether or not you’re willing to deal with how the treatment might make you feel.
- Whether or not you need it. Not all men with prostate cancer need to be treated right away.
- Your age and overall health. For older men or those with other serious health conditions, treatment may be less appealing than watchful waiting.