If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be trying to find out more about your treatment options. The most common forms of treatment for prostate cancer are radiotherapy, open surgery or laser treatment. The type of treatment which your oncologist recommends will depend on how advanced the cancer is, your age and your current health. Below is more information about these forms of treatment.
Radiotherapy is a treatment which makes use of high-energy radiation to attack and disrupt the development of cancerous cells. Receiving radiotherapy is very similar to having an x-ray. However, the x-ray radiation you are exposed to will be higher than that used to take images of the body and will be very carefully directed so it only affects the prostate and not the rest of the body. The radiation causes damage to cancerous cells and prevents them from replicating themselves. However, the therapy will also damage healthy cells. Once you have completed your course of treatment, the healthy cells will repair themselves, whereas the cancerous cells will not. Radiotherapy is not painful, but it can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss. You will normally receive several sessions of radiotherapy over a number of weeks to increase the chance the treatment will be successful.
If the radiotherapy is not successful, your doctor may recommend open prostate surgery. Before surgery begins, the medical staff will take a number of x-rays of your prostate so they can map the cancerous cells. You will then be prepped for surgery and sedated using a general anaesthetic so you are completely unconscious. The surgeon will then make an incision in your lower abdomen so they can gain access the prostate. The surgeon will then use his tools to remove the prostate and the cancerous cells. If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, the surgeon will also remove those. Side effects from surgery can include nerve damage which makes it difficult to maintain an erection.
Laser prostate surgery is a relatively new treatment which uses a laser beam to cut through the flesh surrounding the prostate so it can be removed. The major benefit of laser surgery is that it is much more precise than open surgery, which is performed by hand, which reduces the likelihood of nerve damage or other complications. If you would like to find out more, you should contact your doctor or healthcare clinic.