Prostate Cancer: Deciding Between Removal or Treatment

When prostate cancer is the diagnosis most men will find this form of cancer tends to present with a lot of treatment options. In very low-risk cases, the best treatment may be no treatment at all. Rather, the use of active surveillance to monitor a slow-growing case’s potential progression or lack thereof. In riskier cases, however, physicians are likely to recommend a diversity of nonsurgical treatment options or removal of the entire prostate gland to effectively battle cancer. For those who fall into the riskier categories, making the decision on what treatment path to take can be difficult. Each option comes with its own potential share of benefits and side effects.

To be clear, there are only two treatment paths likely to lead to a cure: radiation therapy and surgery. Other treatments may help slow progression or assist if cancer has recurred. Options like androgen suppression therapy, high intensity focused ultrasound and cryotherapy can be supportive in treatments, but they do not present a cure on their own.

In regard to the two major curative options, here’s a look at the potential pros and cons:

* Prostatectomy – This is the complete removal of the prostate gland. This option can effectively address prostate cancer that has not spread. This has a 30 to 98 percent effective rate, but does come with a number of possible risks. They include erectile dysfunction, incontinence, blood clots, infection and post-operative bleeding. There is also a risk for damage to non-cancerous cells.

* Radiation – This form of treatment presents with several options, including minimally invasive seed implants. Also known as brachytherapy, this treatment has an effective rate of 81 to 93 percent. It also removes the risks associated with surgical procedures and provides a way to effectively treat cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue. Erectile dysfunction and incontinence, however, are still possible. Incontinence typically passes in this case, but erectile dysfunction might not. Other forms of radiation, including external beam radiation, also have success rates along with similar side effects.

When prostate cancer is diagnosed the best course of action will hinge on a number of factors related to a man’s unique case. It is recommended that men speak with their doctors about all their options, their likely benefits and potential risks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *