If you've been diagnosed recently with prostate cancer, you might find the latest treatment options somewhat confusing. Each has its benefits and risks. And no single treatment is right for every man with prostate cancer. In this article, WebMD examines the various treatment options and their side effects. We'll consider the options in terms of:
The grade and stage (severity) of cancer
Other important factors
Ultimately, you'll need to decide for...
What kind of cancer cells you
have. This is called the
grade or Gleason score of your cancer. Most prostate
cancer cells grow very slowly. But some types of cells grow quickly and spread
to other areas of the body.
How far your cancer has spread. This
is called the
stage of your cancer.
The side effects of
Your personal feelings and concerns.
Treatment may be more successful if prostate cancer is found and treated early. Unlike many other cancers, prostate cancer is usually slow-growing. For most men, this slow growth means they have time to learn all they can
before deciding whether to have treatment or which treatment to have.
Types of treatment
The main treatments for prostate cancer include:
Active surveillance. This
is a treatment choice for any man who has low-risk cancer that has not spread (early stage). To learn more, see Other Treatment.
Surgery to remove the cancer by removing the prostate gland. This operation is called a
which include external and internal radiation. These treatments have been improved with newer
technologies that reduce side effects and other problems caused by radiation.
To learn more, see Other Treatment.
A diagnosis of prostate cancer usually means that you
will be seeing your doctor regularly for years to come. So it's a good idea to
build a relationship that is based on full and honest information. Ask your
questions about your cancer so that you can make the
best decision about treatment. Your doctor also may give you some advice on
changes to make in your life to help your treatment succeed.
Additional information about prostate cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate.
Coping with cancer
A cancer diagnosis can change your life. You may feel like your world has turned upside down and you have lost all control. Talking with family, friends, or a counselor can really help. Ask your doctor about support groups. Or call the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) or visit the website at www.cancer.org.
After surgery or radiation
If you choose surgery or
radiation to treat your
prostate cancer, it will be important to have regular
checkups. If your cancer comes back, this will help your doctor find it early.
If you choose active surveillance
If you decide on active surveillance, you will have regular checkups and tests, including prostate biopsies. It is possible that a curable cancer could spread
and become incurable during a 6-month period, but this isn't common. If there
is no change in your condition, you may continue active surveillance. If tests show that your
cancer is growing, it may be time to start other treatment.