Prostate cancer treatment
We have mentioned how testosterone is involved in prostate cancer and how androgen deprivation therapy is sometimes a helpful choice in prostate cancer. In this section, we will explore the medical treatments available for prostate cancer, including androgen deprivation therapy, radical prostatectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy:
○ Radical prostatectomy:
It is the surgical removal of the prostate gland. This type of treatment is ideal when cancer is located in the prostatic tissue but has not spread anywhere else. There are many side effects, and one of them is erectile dysfunction, but there are nerve-sparing surgical techniques that will avoid these unwanted problems. In some cases, doctors may recommend combining radical prostatectomy with radiotherapy after your prostate has been removed.
○ Androgen deprivation therapy:
It is also called hormone therapy and aims at reducing the effects of testosterone over the human prostate. It is administered through special substances that will block the synthesis of testosterone in the body. They can be administered through injections, tablets, or a combination of both, but they are usually prescribed along with another treatment (usually chemotherapy or radiotherapy) because when it is used as a standalone therapy, prostate cancer may become resistant to the therapy.
When prostate cancer has spread to distant parts of the body (in cases of metastasis), chemotherapy is one of the only choices left for these patients. Chemotherapy is performed with a series of substances that will be introduced in the organism to interfere with the normal multiplication of cells. Chemotherapy affects cancer cells and healthy cells as well and may cause side effects such as sores in the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, among others.
This therapeutic method uses radiation to destroy cancer cells. It is usually prescribed for patients without metastasis, but may also work in cancer that has spread to nearby tissues. There are severe side effects such as diarrhea, tiredness, discomfort and pain, and inflammation of the urinary bladder.
* Besides these basic treatment options, your doctor may prescribe many others. For example, instead of radical prostatectomy, you might benefit from transurethral resection of the prostate, a surgical technique that improves urinary tract symptoms in men. And in cases of castration-resistant prostate cancer, doctors may use steroids to shrink prostate cancer. All of these options vary depending on the stage of prostate cancer and the personal history of the patient with the disease.