Prostate Cancer Size – How Does The Size of Tumor Affect Choice of Treatment

Prostate cancer actually does come in all shapes and sizes, and the size of a tumor is totally important in deciding which treatment procedure is best for a patient. There are other factors that count, such as the stage and aggression of the disease, the age of the patient, his general state of health, his disposition toward certain techniques and interventions, the doctor’s understanding of the case, and what treatments are available in that specific hospital. However the size of the tumor makes a major difference that cannot be ignored.

First and foremost, most doctors prefer to treat early stage prostate cancer patients with a decisive radical prostatectomy, which is the surgical removal of the prostate gland or at least the diseased part of it. However if the tumor is too large, they are faced with the problem of potential damage to healthy tissues in the area which might not be in the patient’s best interest. To that end, they will consider remedies that work by slowing the progression of a tumor and even causing it to shrink. Such an intervention would be best realized by hormonal therapy.

Hormonal therapy works in two ways, both to remove the tumor’s supply of endocrine hormones. It has been determined for the greater part of a century now that human sexual hormones serve as some kind of fuel for certain forms of cancer- especially breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. For prostate cancer, the hormone derivative DHT (dihydrotestosterone), produced by the action of testosterone (from the testes) and dihydroepiandrosterone (from the adrenal glands). One form of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer removes the testicles surgical to cease the production of testosterone, and the other interrupts the process of secretion or production of DHT chemotherapeutically.

Hormone treatments cause a regression and usually a shrinking of the tumor, although only for a while; after about a year or two, most tumors start to grow again, which is why surgery or radiation therapy will often still have to be used to complete the cure. Should however the cancer be the hormone refractory or resistant type, things get more complicated because hormonal treatments will not work. A tumor of a rather small size might respond to brachytherapy, but it if is bigger, the radioactive “seed” implant treatment will usually have to be combined with some external beam radiation therapy.

And if the tumor is big enough to have migrated from the prostate and started to metastasize around the rest of the body, then you are looking at a situation in which several remedies may have to be combined, which might include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and perhaps a number of others. The unfortunate thing is that this kind of prostate cancer treatment is usually meant to delay symptoms and prolong life.

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