What Are Treatments for Prostate Cancer?

After patients receive the diagnosis, their next question is often “What are treatments for prostate cancer?” According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cancer diagnosed in American men, with only skin cancer diagnosed more often. Nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed are 65 or older, and is the second leading cause of death, behind only lung cancer, among American men. However, early detection and improved prostate cancer treatments significantly improve the chance of recovery from the disease.

Cancer Stages

In answer to the question “What are treatments for prostate cancer?” depends on several different things. One of the most important factors that determines treatment is the stage in which prostate cancer is diagnosed and whether the cancer has spread to other organs.

Surgical Treatment

Patients in good health often undergo surgical treatments for prostate cancer. Surgical options include:

  • Pelvic lymphadenectomy which removes the lymph nodes in the pelvis so that a pathologist can view the tissue to see if the cancer is spread. If it has not, the surgeon may elect not to remove the prostate.

  • Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate, surrounding tissue and seminal vesicles. There are two types of radical prostatectomy. A retropubic prostatectomy removes the prostate through an incision in the abdominal wall, while a perineal prostatectomy removes the prostate through an incision in the perineum.

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate removes tissue from the prostate using a thin, lighted tube with a cutting tool that is inserted through the urethra.

Radiation and Chemotherapy

As with other types of cancer, the answer to “what are treatments for prostate cancer?” includes the use of radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation treatment uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. External radiation is applied outside the body, while internal radiation uses needles, seeds, wires or catheters to apply radiation directly to the tumor. Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, and is given either by mouth or by injection.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is another answer to the question “What are treatments for prostate cancer?” Research has shown that some male sex hormones can cause prostate cancer to grow, so doctors use drugs that suppress those hormones in the body to reduce the growth of tumors.

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