Treatments For Prostrate Cancer – Important Facts

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Prostate cancer treatment may be a challenge depending on how far the disease is gone before it is identified or diagnosed. However, once it is confirmed that a patient suffers from the malignancy of the prostate, steps are immediately taken to determine how bad the condition is and how wide the cancer has spread. Depending on the results obtained from this staging process, treatment options are now decided upon.

RADIOTHERAPY – otherwise known as radiation therapy, this is a procedure that is generally considered as an alternative to prostatectomy in most cases, on that uses x-rays and high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. In actual fact, radiotherapy treats all stages of the melanoma because, once absorbed into the tissues, the ionizing radiation damages the DNA in the cells and causes them to die in a process called cell apoptosis.

Although it affects healthy cells as well, causing some notable side effects, radiation therapy is often not sufficient to cause the normal cells permanent damage. Whereas the cancer cells die off, the normal cells recover and are able to regenerate, at which point the side effects of radiation (radiation prostitis) fade into oblivion.

One form of radiotherapy, external radiation therapy, beams radiation from a machine known as the linear accelerator onto the body. Using intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, the high energy rays can be adjusted and conformed to the shape and size of the tumor, allowing higher doses into the prostate and seminal vesicles with less damage to the bladder and rectum.

A second form of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, internal radiation therapy (also known as brachytherapy), employs radioactive material sealed in tiny “seeds” for insertion into the prostate under the action of local anesthesia. It is preferred in certain instances to the previous means because it is gentler on healthy tissues in the vicinity, and it appears to be no less effective than surgery.

Howbeit, brachytherapy appears to work best only for men with early-stage prostate kind of cancer. If the cancers have start migrating from the prostate, it may still be combined with external beam therapy, but aggressive metastatic disease is considered well beyond the scope of radioactive seed implants in the prostate. In any case, the seeds become inert after a while at no risk to the patient, and there are often good ten-year outcomes with relatively low morbidity.

HORMONAL THERAPY – there are cases in which hormones are used to treat prostate cancer, especially because the carcinoma is considered to be hugely hormone dependent for its growth, and also especially if the patient is unable to undergo surgery or radiation because of other health problems that he might have. Used on early stage prostate carcinomas, this kind of treatment may not actually cure the disease but it can cede the growth of the tumor.

In addition, hormonal therapy tends to cause cancerous cells to shrink so that other treatments may be applied to them, such as radiation or surgery. Through hormone treatment, body levels of male hormones, especially testosterone, which fuels the growth of cancers, can be reduced. It can make use of medications to block the prostate tumor cells from reaching the critical quantities of hormones needed for their growth and propagation by relinquishing their production; or the procedure may employ surgery to remove the glands that produce the hormones in the first place.

The most successful hormonal treatments are orchiectomy and GnRH agonists. Orchiectomy, although a surgery, removes the testicles that produce the masculine hormone testosterone, which also contributes to the production of dihydroepiandrosterone, a major contributory factor in prostate cancer progression. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are drugs that block spermatogenesis in men, and although they are more expensive, they are preferred for cosmetic and emotional reasons.

Hormone treatments are limited because they don’t cure the cancer. In fact, the malignancy may become adapted to them sooner than later, mutate further, and resume their growth, usually within a two year period.

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