Prostate Cancer Treatment And Possible Side Effects

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

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One of the major reasons why researchers and specialists are still so hard at work looking for different, new, and better treatments for prostate cancer is that the presently available interventions for the disease are somewhat defective, for all their hype.

Prostatectomy, for instance, is the surgical removal of the prostate gland in order to get rid of the cancer before it may spread. In most instances, it is intended as a cure for the condition, especially when the operation is carried out in the early stages of the disease. However it is almost impossible to perform a radical prostatectomy without doing damage to some of the nerves in the prostate or genital region that control or somehow influence the erection of the penis. As a result, one of the side effects of a prostate cancer surgery is impotence.

Radiation treatment is a favored therapy for cancer of the prostate in all stages, but one that is also fraught with side effects, mostly radiation proctitis and potential urinary incontinence. The proctitis generally causes diarrhea and rectal bleeding, which may last for several weeks even after the treatment has been completed. However for radiation treatment, many of the side effects fade of with time.

Chemotherapy is often reserved for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer when the cancerous cells are all over the bloodstream of the patient and in various parts of the body. Chemotherapeutic drugs attack rapidly dividing cells in the body; so that not only the cancer cells get hurt, but other cells as well that happen to divide soon after contact with the drug’s action. The result of this is the hair loss and other symptoms that are seen during and after chemo treatment.

The side effects of hormonal treatments for prostate cancer are equally disturbing. For one, many men experience the growth of their breasts and decreased sexual desire and libido. Many men have even been observed to gradually slow down (activity wise) within years of the therapy. Of course, if the testicles are removed, there goes the ability to reproduce.

About the most common side effect of prostate cancer treatment is the loss of potency and of continence. The incontinence issues are mostly taken care of by the passage of time, most patients recovering close to ninety percent (or more) of the control of their bladder. The impotence issues are another matter. Reports suggest that many men never get better than 50% of the action back, but at least it can be helped with some Viagra and/or VED vacuum pumps.

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