Prostate Cancer Treatment

Deciding on a prostate cancer treatment with your doctor is an
understandably difficult journey and series of tough decisions. First,
it is important to note that prostate cancer treatment options vary
according to patient’s age and overall health as well as the stage of
the cancer, if it is the first appearance or a reoccurrence, and if it
is confined to the prostate gland or has spread. These factors also
influence the overall prognosis and probable success of treatment. 
Once all of the individual’s physical and psychological needs are
factored into deciding a prostate cancer treatment, there are four main
types of treatment which may be offered. The National Cancer Institute
deems the four standard prostate cancer treatment options as: watchful
waiting, surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.

Watchful waiting
is a process in which a patient’s health is carefully monitored and
treatment does not begin until a change or onset of symptoms.  This
gives the doctor valuable insight as to the rate of growth and stage of
cancer, thereby narrowing to the best possible treatment option. 
Surgery provides the removal of the cancerous cells, in hopes to slow
and stop their growth. The type of surgery depends on the location of
malignant cells and may remove the lymph nodes from the pelvis area,
tissue surrounding the prostate, or the entire gland itself.  Radiation
therapy may be used in conjunction with surgery and utilizes high does
of radiation targeted at the cancerous cells in an attempt to kill
them. Radiation can come from an external source via machine or
internally through the use of needles and catheters.  A newer course of
treatment called hormone therapy blocks or suppresses certain hormones
which are used by the cancer to spread.   Although these are currently
the standard prostate cancer treatment options, there are many clinical
treatment trials in the works as medical technology advances.