Prostate Cancer - Other Treatment
Radiation therapy may be used alone or combined with
hormone treatment or surgery to treat
prostate cancer. Like surgery, it is most effective in
treating cancer that has not spread outside the prostate. When combined with
surgery, radiation is used to destroy any cancer cells that might be left
behind and to relieve pain when the cancer has spread.
two main types of radiation treatment for prostate cancer:
- External beam radiation, in which a machine
aims high-energy X-rays or protons at the cancer from outside the body.
External radiation also includes conformal radiotherapy, intensity-modulated
radiation therapy, and proton therapy.
- Conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) uses a
three-dimensional planning system to target a strong dose of radiation to the
prostate cancer. This helps to protect healthy tissue from
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) uses newer 3D-CRT technology to target the cancer.
- Brachytherapy, in which tiny seeds containing
radioactive material are injected directly into or near the cancer and left
there. In time, the material loses its radioactivity and the seeds can remain
where they are.
Radiation treatment may cause
erection problems and
bladder problems. It sometimes causes diarrhea. The
ability to have an erection sometimes returns or at least improves over time.
So does the ability to control urination.
Side effects are common.
Some men develop long-term problems that may have a big impact on the quality
of their lives. Long-term problems that can be caused by radiation treatment
- An irritated
rectum that can cause an urgent need to pass stool.
This is called proctitis.
- An inflamed bladder and urination
problems. This is called cystitis.
- An inflamed intestine and
diarrhea. This is called enteritis.
- Being unable to have an
erection. This is called impotence.
- Being unable to control
urination. This is called incontinence.
- Painful urination. This is
People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side
effects of cancer treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:
Mind-body treatments like those mentioned above may help
you feel better and cope better with treatment. These treatments also may reduce chronic low back pain, joint pain,
headaches, and pain from treatments.
Before you try a complementary therapy, talk to your doctor about
the possible value and potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already
using any such therapies. Complementary therapies are not meant to take the
place of standard medical treatment, but they may improve your quality of life
and help you deal with the stress and side effects of cancer treatment.
You may be interested in taking part in research studies called clinical trials. Clinical trials are designed to find better ways to treat prostate cancer patients and are based on the most up-to-date information. People who do not want standard treatments or are not cured by standard treatments may want to take part in clinical trials.
Check with your doctor to see whether clinical trials are available in your area and whether you might be eligible.