Prostate Cancer Immune Therapy

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most deadly diseases in the United States ? if you didn’t know that before reading this, now you know. Although it is very strictly a masculine disease, seeing as women don’t have a prostate gland, the disease does such a dreadful number on North American men every year that folks are running scared. In the United States alone, close to three hundred thousand new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year, and close to thirty thousand patients die from the disease and it complications. In Canada, the numbers are more modest, but being an overall smaller population, about five thousand fatalities on top of twenty thousand fresh diagnoses annually is bad enough.

You don’t have to be introduced to cancer ? in the United States today there is hardly a family that lives without one casualty from some form of the disease or the other. Prostate cancer is simply the same malignancy but originating at the prostate gland, a gland that produces fluid to boost the semen and support the sperm released during intercourse, and a critical part of the male reproductive system. Needless to say, two of the main symptoms of the disease are therefore painful urination, and painful intercourse.

Most people are already aware of chemotherapy for the treatment of all kinds of cancers, even if they don’t know how it works. For the most part, doctors are more comfortable treating prostate cancer by prostatectomy ? surgical removal of the tumor ? except that the risks involved to the nerves in the region are immense.

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In addition, due to the fear of relapse of the condition, or worry about metastasis, they may be forced to consider other treatment techniques, or even various combinations of existing techniques, others being radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, and cryosurgery.

Similar to chemotherapy but also in a class of its own is immune therapy for prostate cancer treatment, otherwise simply referred to as immunotherapy. Not restricted to prostate cancers alone, this is a treatment technique in which the immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies against specific invaders. Another form of immunotherapy is the use of monoclonal antibodies, genetically engineered antibodies that target specific cancer cells in your body, boosts your immune system to fight the cancer by itself.

Although there are still parts of this procedure that are still in research, the advancements in this treatment method for prostate cancer are exciting enough to cause waves in the medical community. Vaccines are produced to incite the immune system to attack cancerous prostate cells anywhere in the body without hurting nonprostatic cells. Since your immune system is naturally capable of attacking malignant cells but often fails to recognize them on its own, the vaccines are a great deal of help. As a matter of fact, there is consideration for using the same vaccines potentially as preventive treatments for men who are at high risk of prostate cancer, and to prevent the recurrence in those who have already been treated for the disease. You would still have to talk with your doctor about what your chances are with the procedure though.

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