Being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, or noticing you have the symptoms, can be a scary prospect. In this section, we introduce you to the treatment journey you may experience. Please not that these treatments may not be suitable for everyone, and this is merely our advice. We bear no responsibility for inaccurate content.
Treatment for Prostate Cancer starts with Monitoring and Analysis. The detection of increased PSA levels, a potential indicator of Prostate Cancer, may not directly lead to treatment. The first stages may well result in long term monitoring of the prostate, including invasive and non-invasive analysis
The PSA test or prostate-specific antigen, is a blood test used to show the health of the prostate. It measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland into the blood, both from normal and cancer cells. The test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The results are reported as nanograms of PSA per millilitre (ng/ml) of blood. A higher than normal result will require a second PSA test to determine if further investigation is necessary.
Used normally as part of the initial diagnosis for Prostate Cancer after PSA blood tests and is now becoming an integral part to aid targeted biopsies. Multiparametric MRI is a new special MRI scan now that produces a more detailed picture of the Prostate Gland than the standard MRI and is now an emerging standard for diagnosing and prognosing prostate cancer. It may also help in reducing overdiagnosis and consequent overtreatment. It however cannot diagnose prostate cancer, but can help the urologist see areas in the prostate gland that looks suspicious and can be used as a guide tool in biopsies.
A prostate Biopsy is a procedure to remove samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate gland it self. A needle is used to collect a number of tissue samples from the prostate gland normally performed by an urologist, using ultrasound imaging. Tissue samples from the prostate biopsy are examined under a microscope for cell abnormalities that are a sign of cancer. If cancer is present, it is evaluated to determine how quickly its likely to progress and to determine the best treatment options.
Once Cancer is confirmed, the treatments start. Here are some common examples.
Active surveillance involves a regular testing schedule including PSA blood tests, digital rectal exams and prostate biopsies with the goal of intervening with treatment if necessary, while watchful waiting involves less frequent testing and monitoring with the goal of avoiding unnecessary treatment. The choice between the two strategies depends on the patient’s age, overall health and the characteristics of the cancer.
Surgery is normally called radical prostatectomy and is where the cancerous or enlarged prostate gland is removed. The choice of surgical technique depends on various factors including the patient’s health, cancer stage and surgeon’s expertise
Radio/Radiation therapy is an effective treatment for Prostate Cancer. It uses high energy rays or particles to kill the cancer cells. There are several treatment options. One is external Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT): This involves directing radiation beams at the cancer from a machine outside the body. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes and is normally painless. Can be the primary treatment for early-stage cancer or in combination with other treatments for more advanced cancer. Alternatively, Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, which commonly involves placing small radioactive pellets or “seeds” directly into the prostate. Or the precise temporary positioning of a high-dose radioactive (HDR) pellet near the target area. Generally used for early-stage prostate cancer that is relatively slow-growing. Used alone or with external beam radiation
Hormone therapy is a common treatment for Prostate Cancer. Used to block or lower the amount of testosterone, a hormone that fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells. Its purpose is to slow down the growth of prostate cancer, shrink tumours and relieve signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. It can be administered through medications, injection or both.
Modern medicine has brough some new treatments that can work well with prostate cancer. Here we explore some of the more common advanced treatments
Also known a cryosurgery, is a procedure that uses very cold temperatures to freeze and kill the prostate cancer cells. It is done under anaesthesia with ultrasound guidance to control the extent of the freeze. Cryotherapy is less invasive than surgery, giving a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and less pain. Cryotherapy might be used to treat early-stage prostate cancer that’s confined to one part of the prostate and that hasn’t spread
High-intensity focused ultrasound. A relatively new technology that is a minimally invasive procedure via a probe inserted into the rectum that uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of the prostate and also deliver the treatment via a high-intensity beam that targets the suspect prostate tissue to a high temperature, destroying it.
Radium-223, also known as Xofigo, is a type of internal radiotherapy treatment for metastatic or advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. It is absorbed by bone cells because it is similar to calcium; it then releases radiation that travels a very short distance. This means that the cancer cells receive a high dosage and destroys them leaving healthy bone cells with a low dose of radiation. Administered through intravenous injections, typically given to individuals that have had hormone treatment that is no longer effective or who are not suitable for chemotherapy.
Lutetium-177 is an innovative new treatment and is another form of internal targeted radiation, injected into the bloodstream. Inside the body, the medication seeks out prostate cancer cells and tightly attaches to them. It then precisely delivers a high dose of radiation to destroy the cancer cells. It is used in personalised therapy for advanced stages of prostate cancer.