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 Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Prostate Treatment Options

Prostate cancer treatment is controversial, at any stage it may be; therefore, the opinions of different specialists may be needed.  For patients with a life expectancy greater than ten years, before recommending treatment, the oncologist will investigate whether the cancer has the potentiality to grow and result in death before the death related to another cause.  In fact, men aged 70 years and over being diagnosed prostate cancer are more likely to die with but not of their cancer.    

Some prostate cancers grow slowly; therefore, an active surveillance (Watchful Waiting)  may be recommended if the cancer is not potentially aggressive. Other prostate cancers tend to spread rapidly to surrounding tissues or distant organs. Depending on the stage of the tumor and age of the patient, different prostate cancer treatment options can be used: hormone therapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. New less-cumbersome techniques are sometimes used and can include brachytherapy and cryosurgery.

Brachytherapy : also knows as internal radiation, brachytherapy involves implantation of small radioactive seeds (usually between 50 and 100) either temporarily or permanently in the prostate gland. Being inside the prostate, those radiation sources continuously irradiate cancer cells of the prostate in order to damage their DNA. In general, the implantation is performed under general anesthesia and guided by ultrasound (probe inserted into the rectum). Side effects are basically not life threatening and, most of the times, temporary.  Learn more about brachytherapy.

Cryosurgery : Cryosurgery is a surgical technique of destroying in situ tumor by freezing the diseased cells. The temperature can be as low as minus 196 ° C. This therapy can be recommended as first-line treatment or in case of failure of other therapies such as brachytherapy or external beam radiotherapy. Cryosurgery for prostate cancer is performed under anesthesia. Five probes are introduced into the prostate under ultrasound guidance. The main complications are rectal or urethral injuries caused by the extreme cold. In addition to prostate cancer, cryosurgery is used very often by dermatologists for destroying small skin lesions; by phlebologists to treat varicose veins; by gynecologists for small lesions of the cervix.