Effective Conventional Treatments Of Prostate Cancer

The treatment for prostate cancer is rather varied and follows quite a number of different approaches. Deciding on the best one depends on several factors, which include the overall health of the patient, the patient’s disposition, the doctor’s general expertise and intuition, and more importantly, the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, and its aggression.

Surgery – for prostate cancer, this is called a radical prostatectomy, which is essentially the surgical removal of the prostate gland of the patient in order to get rid of the cancer once and for all. This is decisive approach aimed at curing the disease, which is then most effective in the early stages. Prostatectomy may be considered as an adjutant therapy in later stages of the disease, and recent findings are suggesting that it might be able to extend life expectancy for later stages of the disease, but these are yet to be confirmed.

Radiation – referred to as radiotherapy or radiation therapy, this involves attacking the prostate cancer cells with ionizing radiation. The radiation generally harms everything in its way, but whilst the this cancerous tumor cells die, the normal cells are able to heal and recuperate. The treatment may be employed in just about every stage of the disease, but as a cure, it is only applicable in early stage disease. Two forms of radiation therapy exist: external beam radiation therapy, which applies the radiation from a linear accelerator; and internal radiation treatment (brachytherapy), which uses the implantation of radioactive seeds into the prostate. The former may be used more for advanced prostate malignant tumor, but locally advanced disease may require the combination of both.

Hormonal therapy – because it is a fact by this time that prostate cancer cells rely on the presence of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to proliferate, oncologists attempt to hinder the body’s production of this endocrine hormone to halt the progression of the disease. To this end, an orchiectomy (surgical removal of the testicles) or drug therapy may be used to interrupt the synthesis of the hormone, leading to a stop of the disease’s progression, and sometimes even shrinkage. However, hormonal therapy is by no means a cure because the tumor later resumes its growth after it has adapted to the treatment. For this reason, hormonal therapy has to be combined with other treatments to cure, or employed in late stage disease to provide palliation for the patient

Chemotherapy – in prostate cancer treatment, this is hardly appropriate in the early stages because the disease is slow growing, and the drugs applied may simply do as much harm to the patient’s normal cells as they will to the cancers. However if the cancer gets out of the prostate and starts to metastasize, chemotherapy may very easily be the best treatment to delay symptoms and provide pain relief.

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