Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in middle aged and older men. It is the second most common cause following lung cancer of death from cancer in men.
This article will discuss the most common treatment options for prostate cancer and what are the side effects of these treatments.
For younger men with localized disease, surgical removal of the prostate gland either with an open 6-8-inch incision or through a robotic prostatectomy-5 small pencil-sized holes in the lower abdomen that removes the entire prostate gland.
Temporary or even permanent erectile dysfunction (impotence) occurs in many of the men who undergo surgery. Urinary incontinence, inability to control the flow of urine, occurs in 3-30% of men who have their prostate gland surgically removed.
For older men or for men who have prostate cancer beyond the prostate gland, radiation therapy is treatment option. The side effects include temporary fatigue, diarrhea or other bowel problems, urgency of urination, and impotence (ED).
For men with spread of prostate cancer beyond the prostate into the bones or lymph nodes, then hormonal therapy is often recommended. Hormone therapy is used in men with advanced, high-grade prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is also used in men who cancer has recurred after being treated with radiation therapy or surgery. This is usually determined with an elevation of the PSA level. Prostate cancer is very sensitive to testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicles, and removal of testosterone reduces the cancer and helps control the disease but does not cure the problem.
The side effects of hormonal therapy include reduced libido, hot flashes, softening of bones or osteoporosis which leads to bone fractures, impotence, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Chemotherapy is indicated for men who do not respond to removing the testosterone produced by the testicles. Chemotherapy leads to hair loss, nausea\vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle pain, and weight loss.
Proton therapy is a similar to external radiation that targets difficult to reach tumors and is designed to allow higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the prostate with fewer side effects.
Bottom Line: Over the past few years there have been numerous options available for the management of localized prostate cancer and even prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland. New Orleans has several doctors who are national and even global experts in managing prostate cancer. For more information, contact your doctor.