What Are The Treatments, Procedures, And Risk Factors Of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in the male population. Though rare in its presentation, it is a highly aggressive cancer-prone to metastasis. Let’s discuss some of the treatment options and management protocols for prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is fairly common in the male population. Risk factors include African American descent, a family history of prostate cancer developing at a younger age, and advancing age.
Treatments For Prostate Cancer
As far as treatment goes, there are 2 types of plans we can opt for. One is the surgical approach, and the other is the medical approach, which we will be discussing in this section.
1. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. This may be of two types; one is the external beam therapy, which uses an external source of X-rays that spreads all across your body, targeting malignant prostate tissue. It is one option to consider if cancer hasn’t spread beyond the prostate. External beam therapy may be used for up to 5 days for several weeks.
Another option to use is brachytherapy, which involves placing radioactive substances within the prostate. These are usually rice-seed-like in structure, and deliver low-dose radiation for longer periods of time.
2. Hormone Therapy
This therapy involves the inhibition of testosterone, which fuels the growth of malignant prostate cells. Most commonly used drugs include the GnRH agonists and antagonists that inhibit the release of testosterone. Another class of drugs used are the anti-androgens in conjunction with LHRH agonists that block the release of testosterone from the body. The final aspect is an orchidectomy, which involves the removal of the testis, which significantly reduces testosterone levels.
The Chemotherapy regimen is used to either give cytotoxic drugs via pills or infusions through an I.V line systemically. These drugs, although very effective at destroying tumor cells tend to harm the host cells as well. Side effects include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell count, and formation of secondary tumors.
1. Radical Prostatectomy
This surgery involves the removal of the prostate gland, some surrounding rectal tissues, and the lymph nodes. Surgery is often used to treat cancers that are limited to the prostate, and in some cases may be combined with other treatment modalities for advanced tumors. There are 2 ways to access the prostate, one is through making several incisions on the abdominal wall, and proceeding with resection through a robotic-assisted laparoscopic technique. The surgeon usually controls the instruments as the robotic laparoscope resects the prostate tissue. Another technique used is the open technique where a large incision is made on the abdomen, and the prostate is removed.
2. Freezing Or Heating Prostate Tissue (Cryoablation Or Cryotherapy)
Involves freezing the cancerous prostate part and surrounding healthy tissue in hopes of destroying the tumors. Another common approach is the high-intensity focused ultrasound that generates a significant amount of heat to ultimately destroy the malignant tissues.
We hope this article proved useful in understanding the treatment regimen of prostate cancer and the risk factors involved.