Finding the best treatments for prostate cancer when you or a loved one is diagnosed can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are a variety of effective treatment options.
Determining the best therapy depends on various factors, including how fast the cancer grows, whether it has spread, and your overall health. The other factor to consider is the treatment’s potential benefits compared to the risk of negative side effects.
By partnering with your doctor, you can learn about all of your options and which might be best for your situation. Here are some of the best treatments for prostate cancer.
8 Best Treatments for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer often grows slowly; some men with the disease may not require therapy. Instead, their doctor may recommend watchful waiting, which relies on looking for changes in symptoms to determine if treatment is needed.
Closer, more active monitoring, such as a periodic blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), biopsies, and imaging, may also be performed.
Surgery may be a treatment option if the cancer is confined to the prostate gland or is causing severe urinary symptoms. The primary surgical treatment for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy. During this procedure, the physician removes the entire prostate.
There are several different ways the prostate can be removed with surgery – some require an incision in the abdomen and others can be done with a tiny incision and a laparoscope.
Surgery may provide a cure if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else in the body.
3. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells with high-energy rays or particles. Radiation therapy may be used:
As the initial treatment for prostate cancer that has not spread outside the gland.
Along with hormone therapy for cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland to neighboring tissues.
If cancer recurs or is not entirely removed following surgery.
To help alleviate symptoms and control the growth of advanced cancer.
Radiation therapy often requires several treatments in a short time frame. You may go 5 days a week for around 9 weeks. Treatment sessions are usually short.
Radiation therapy is often quite effective for prostate cancer that is diagnosed early.
Cold temperatures are used in cryotherapy or cryoablation to freeze and destroy prostate cancer cells. Cryotherapy is often used:
- For cancer that has returned following radiation therapy.
- In men who are ineligible for surgery or radiation therapy.
While cryotherapy is effective in treating prostate cancer, it’s rarely used first because it causes erectile dysfunction. It’s typically used in cases where radiation therapy wasn’t successful.
5. Hormone treatment
Androgens, including testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are hormones that promote the growth of prostate cancer cells. Hormone treatment aims to lower androgen levels in the body and can temporarily cause prostate tumors to shrink or grow more slowly. Hormone treatment alone cannot cure prostate cancer and is used:
- If cancer has progressed too far to be cured by surgery or radiation.
- If cancer persists or returns following surgery or radiation therapy.
- In addition to radiation therapy if there is a greater risk of cancer returning after treatment.
- Before radiation, to make treatment more successful by shrinking the tumor.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer medications administered intravenously or orally and may be used if hormone therapy fails and prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate gland.
Chemotherapy has many side effects that interfere with daily living. Usually, it’s an option reserved for situations where the cancer has spread to bones or other organs.
Provenge is a therapeutic cancer vaccine that is used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. This vaccine boosts the body’s immune system to aid in attacking prostate cancer cells. Your own immune cells are taken to create the vaccine, so it is completely personalized.
It is used to treat prostate cancer that doesn’t respond to hormone therapy and has spread beyond the prostate.
8. Targeted medication treatment
Poly(ADP)-ribose-polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are medicines that identify and destroy cancer cells while causing minimal harm to healthy cells. This innovative treatment may be helpful for men who have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. When men have this gene mutation, PARP inhibitors target the inner working of the cancer cells and cause them to die.
Don’t delay discussing the best treatments for prostate cancer with a urologist – call 843-347-2450 to schedule an appointment today.