Prostrate Cancer Therapy – Therapies that work

July 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

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Because there is no such thing as a definitive cure for prostate cancer ? all that there are, are various treatments that work to some degree and which may cure it in the early stages ? effectively treating this condition often results in continuous treatments to be administered not once but over a period of time; and may even involve several different processes.

Hormonal therapy, for instance, is one such treatment for the condition that often requires that two different procedures be employed in the treatment of the disease. In one instance the patient may have to undergo an orchiectomy to have his testicles removed in order to stop his body’s production of testosterone. Without testosterone, the production of DHT is compromised, and the cancer often stops growing or even regresses. However, hormonal medications (drugs and pills) may also be given either as an alternative or in combination to achieve the same end. The treatment may continue for years.

Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation from an external or an internal source. Internally, brachytherapy has implants inserted into the prostate that are made of radioactive material; externally, a beam of gamma or x-rays is applied by a linear accelerator to kill the cancerous cells. Often the treatment could last for several weeks, and the side effects of it for several more.

Another prostate cancer therapy is chemotherapy, which may even be sustained for several years with the hope of slowing down the disease and delaying its symptoms. This is in consequence of the fact that it is not employed in the early stages of the disease because this condition is usually is slow growing at that time and the chemotherapeutic drugs would attack anything that looks like them ? which is probably everything. In late stage disease though, they are effective because the metastatic prostate malignant tumor cells are more distinguishable by this time.

Immunotherapy is similar in approach to chemotherapy as it involves the use of drugs. In this case however, the drugs are given with the intention of boosting the body’s own immune system to combat the disease, not to kill the disease themselves. Also referred to as biological therapy, the potential of this treatment over the long term is still being studied, awaiting final results.

The choice of treatment depends on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, the age of the patient, his state of health, and the goal of the therapy. There are other factors too, and they must all come into play. However it is important to note that late stage disease is not curable, so the sooner a therapy is chosen, the better it is for the patient’s survival.

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