Treatments for Prostate Cancer depend on the person and how far it has spread. I became a widow because of prostate cancer, but it was in an advanced stage. The most important thing I can tell men is to get checked early. If you can get treatment at an early stage your treatment options, and chance for recovery are considerably better.
Radical prostatectomy is performed to remove the prostate gland and lymph nodes that are near. If the prostate gland is removed then you have a better chance of being cured of the cancer. It also tells your doctor at what stage your cancer is.
The two types of radiation are: external beam radiation therapy, given by machine like an x-ray machine, its time consuming, five days a week for seven weeks. Radiation pellets or seeds are the other type which is injected into the prostate gland. Seed therapy can be done in one hospital visit.
Watchful waiting is the term used to wait to see if the tumor grows. It is most scary, as you really don't know what will happen, and you are always thinking the worst. In general tumors grow slowly and life expectancy is the same as men without prostate cancer, it depends on how serious it is. You don't have treatment but you in contact with your doctor continually.
Having a good doctor and support system is really important to the family for that support, because there is always going to be unanswered questions. Consult your radiotherapist, oncologist (cancer doctor) or urologist with questions. Knowing if a small tumor is going to grow bigger is important, so you have to have regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA tests).
Hormone therapy is meant to lower the male hormone levels. They are called androgens which are produced in the testicals. You have a choice of either having monthly hormone shots or having the testicals removed. The thought is that once the testosterone is out of the system the prostate cancer will no longer grow. One-two years of hormone therapy usually work well, but sometimes they will start growing again. The ultimate goal is to get on symptoms fast, and to control them. No treatment can cure prostate cancer after hormone therapy has stopped working.
After treatment for prostate cancer you should get regular psa tests every six months for five years. A high psa test score usually means the cancer has come back. A digital rectal exam should be given once a year.
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