1. Use Hormone Therapy
Your doctor is likely to turn to hormone therapy as an early intervention against prostate cancer. Because male hormones are known to contribute to the spread of prostate cancer, reducing or eliminating their production is often highly therapeutic.
These techniques do come at a cost, however. Many men report side effects that include erectile difficulties, breast enlargement and a diminished libido. Your doctor will walk you through the various ways you can combat these side effects if you do opt to undergo hormone therapy.
2. Surgical Procedures Used to Treat Prostate Cancer
If the cancer is present only in your prostate gland, your doctor may opt to remove it completely. This is one of the most effective treatment methods available. Several different surgery techniques are used to remove the prostate gland, with the newest methods featuring robotic assistance and incisions in less sensitive areas of the body.
Surgery may not be recommended if your prostate cancer has spread to other parts of your body. In those cases, you’ll probably be directed to treat the cancer using a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.
3. Radiation Therapy Can Help Prostate Cancer Patients
Like other forms of cancer, prostate cancer responds to radiation treatments. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is used after your doctor creates a detailed image pinpointing the exact size and location of your prostate cancer. A high-powered X-ray is focused to target those specific areas. Accuracy is very important, because the external beam can also harm adjoining healthy tissues.
4. Brachytherapy as an Alternative to Conventional EBRT
If your cancer is confined to your prostate, a different type of radiation therapy known as “brachytherapy” might be recommended. This relatively new technique uses radioactive implants which are inserted into your prostate. They treat your prostate cancer by releasing high levels of concentrated radiation into affected bodily tissues.
This technique has some limitations, though. Your doctor will direct you to stay at least 6 feet away from kids and expectant mothers, at least during the initial months of treatment, because of the possibility of radiation escaping your body and affecting them.
5. Freeze Away Cancer Cells
Another relatively new treatment method is “cryotherapy,” a process that destroys cancer cells by freezing the surrounding tissues, halting blood flow and growth. While this technique holds some promise for the future, it’s still in the relatively early stages of development and won’t be recommended as a first line of defense. The risk that cryotherapy will affect vital nearby tissues and organs like the bladder and kidney is high enough that you should turn to other treatment methods first.