There are a number of ways that prostate cancer can be treated. Read on to find out more about two common treatment options.
Prostate cancer surgery involves the removal of either some or all of the prostate gland. It is frequently recommended in cases where the patient is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer which is likely to grow and spread beyond the prostate if the gland is not removed promptly, but it is also sometimes used to treat slow-growing forms of prostate cancer.
There are a couple of different types of prostate cancer surgery. A radical prostatectomy, for example, usually involves the removal of not only the entire prostate gland but also the seminal vesicles, the nearby lymph nodes and some of the tissues that surround the prostate, while a partial prostatectomy will only involve the removal of the cancerous section of the prostate.
In most cases, these surgeries can be done laparoscopically (that is, by making multiple small incisions on the patient's abdomen and using these incisions to gain access to and remove the prostate). Laparoscopic surgery leaves smaller, less noticeable scars and is far less invasive than open surgery (where one large incision is made across the lower abdomen), which makes it a lot easier to recover from.
Some men who undergo this type of surgery may experience urinary incontinence afterward; however, in a lot of cases, this is a temporary issue which resolves itself after a few months.
'Active surveillance' is, as the term itself implies, a treatment option which involves monitoring the disease on a regular basis.
This approach is often favoured in cases where the prostate cancer is very slow-growing and where the patient is elderly and, therefore, more likely to pass away as a result of old age than of cancer.
If a man who is suffering from prostate cancer decides to opt for active surveillance, their GP will usually test their PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels regularly, as this can help them to determine if the cancer is growing and requires additional treatment.
Additionally, their GP may also refer them to a specialist once or twice a year so that they can get their prostate biopsied; the cells extracted during a biopsy can then be examined for signs of cancer growth.
Finally, the patient may be asked to go for regular MRIs; the images gathered from this machine can help their doctors to ascertain if the cancer is beginning to spread and whether or not the patient needs to undergo other treatments to prevent the disease from progressing any further.