Prostate Cancer Testing, Staging, Treatment and Prognosis

Prostate cancer Testing and staging

Once it has been determined that a patient has prostate cancer, more tests are needed in order to determine how far the carcinoma has spread. This process is called staging, in which scans are done of various other parts of the body, and tissue tests as well, to tell if there are metastatic prostate cancer cells in those regions or not. One big fear is bone metastasis, which poses the most problems and which is not considered curable. Nonetheless, even such advanced stage disease can be treated to some extent, with more aggressive treatment.

The first step in staging is actually already completed by the biopsy, which shows the mutation in the abnormal cells to effect against the healthy cells. Their degree of deviation allows for Gleason numbers to be extracted from the scrutiny, and a Gleason score calculated which to a large extent tells how aggressive the disease is. The PSA level too is indicative of the stage of the disease once prostate cancer has been confirmed, while the MRI, CT, and radionuclide bone scans help to determine metastasis.

Prostate cancer treatment

Treatment generally depends on the stage of the cancer, the age of the patient, and his general state of health. Men over the age of 70 with early-stage prostate cancer may be accorded active surveillance or watchful waiting to see if the disease progresses faster or if it doesn’t, peradventure he could die of other causes before they develop prostate cancer symptoms. A radical prostatectomy in an assortment of variations can be done to surgically remove the tumor if it is still in the prostate, sometimes combined with radiation. Radiotherapy (external beam or brachytherapy) uses high-energy (ionizing) radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing; while hormonal therapy deals with the hormones that promote prostate cancer cell growth, thereby slowing their progression and causing them to sometimes shrink.

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to treat the disease, mostly when the disease has spread beyond the prostate; and immunotherapy is a remedy that follows a similar pattern but instead strengthens the body’s immune system to do its own fighting. Other prostate cancer treatments under include cryosurgery and HIFU. Cryosurgery or cryotherapy uses instruments to destroy cancer cells by freezing them; while HIFU, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, uses high-energy sound waves to destroy cancer cells. Prognosis is usually good for early stage prostate cancer over five to ten years after treatment, but the survival rate drops more sharply thereafter.

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