Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer for men in the United States. However, treatment for prostate cancer is often highly effective if it’s caught in its early stages. The standard cancer treatment for prostate cancer may include chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, prostatectomy, and other options.
Cancer treatment often results in many unpleasant side effects, such as fatigue, impotence, or incontinence. Studying your available prostate cancer treatment options is always worthwhile in helping you find a treatment that works best for you by minimizing these side effects.
Three Traditional Cancer Treatments
Using traditional cancer treatments is often how many doctors treat patients dealing with prostate cancer. Here is a brief overview of three traditional treatments for prostate cancer.
Surgery for treating prostate cancer often involves removing the prostate and the surrounding lymph nodes. The stage of cancer and the patient’s overall health will determine the type of surgical procedure.
A radical prostatectomy is a procedure that removes the entire prostate and the lymph nodes located in the pelvic area. This type of procedure may impact sexual function. Urinary incontinence is another possible side effect.
Robotic prostatectomy is another surgical procedure that’s less invasive compared to radical prostatectomy. The recovery time is often shorter, as a surgeon uses robotic technology to remove the prostate gland. Typically, this results in less bleeding and pain.
However, the possible side effects are similar to radical prostatectomy. Discussing your prostate cancer treatment options with your doctor is always important in helping you choose the best procedure.
Radiation therapy is another common cancer treatment. A radiation oncologist will use high-energy rays to eliminate cancer cells. Usually, this involves several treatments over an extended period of time.
External-beam radiation is one of the most common methods used to treat cancer. Hypofractionated radiation therapy is a type of external-beam radiation that’s often widely used for early-stage prostate cancer, as it’s given in a higher dose but in a shorter period of time.
Brachytherapy is an internal radiation treatment that uses radioactive sources to directly target the prostate. These sources of radiation can be left for a short or long time, depending on the dose-rate. Brachytherapy can also be combined with other treatment options, such as hormonal therapy.
One way to slow the growth of prostate cancer is to use hormonal therapy. You can lower testosterone levels by taking medication or undergoing surgical castration.
Hormonal therapy is also known as androgen-deprivation therapy. Using medication known as androgen axis inhibitors is effective at stopping the growth of prostate cancer by eliminating the production of testosterone.
Hormonal therapy is often used in many different scenarios, whether it’s localized, metastatic, or if it’s locally advanced prostate cancer. Typically, hormonal therapy is used for four to six months for anyone with an intermediate-risk for prostate cancer. High-risk patients will often receive treatment for two to three years.
Alternative Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Alternative treatments for prostate cancer are also available for men who prefer not to deal with the many unpleasant side effects of traditional options. Here are a few alternative cancer treatments to discuss with your doctor.
Saw palmetto grows throughout the southern United States, as it produces berries that have been used for medicine by Native Americans. The use of saw palmetto continues to become more popular in the United States and Europe as a treatment for men with an enlarged prostate. Taking saw palmetto can help reduce frequent urination, ease painful symptoms, and improve urine flow. However, it’s always important to reach out to your doctor to ensure it doesn’t interfere with other medications.
Pomegranate juice is another alternative treatment for prostate cancer. Drinking one glass of pomegranate juice per day may be able to prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer, according to research from UCLA. One study showed that pomegranate juice can decrease the spread and may even reverse prostate cancer. A three-year study found that drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis can help stabilize PSA levels for men.
Pygeum is also used to treat a variety of medical conditions, such as urinary issues and prostate inflammation. Compounds found in pygeum may potentially reduce prostate inflammation and lessen testosterone levels. Various clinical trials on a small-scale suggest pygeum can benefit cancer patients, but larger studies need to be conducted to confirm these results.
Understanding how to effectively treat prostate cancer is essential to the long-term health of cancer patients. Traditional treatment for prostate cancer may include surgery, radiation, or hormonal therapy. However, some patients may choose alternative cancer treatments due to the lesser side effects. Reaching out to your doctor to help weigh the pros and cons of prostate cancer treatment is critical in helping you choose the most effective therapy.