10 Ways To Outlive Prostate Cancer
The diagnosis of prostate cancer is something no man wants to hear from his doctor. If there is a chance the disease will occur, there are proactive measures men can take to lower the odds. If a diagnosis has already been confirmed, options exist to help fight the disease and ease symptoms to improve the quality of life of patients. The choices, whether natural or traditional medicinal methods are determined by each patient and his in-depth discussion with his doctor.
Several options exist for surgical removal of tumors. This is best done before it spreads outside the prostate. A radical prostatectomy is a procedure in which the entire prostate and seminal vesicles are removed. The risks include problems with sexual functions and urinary incontinence. Robotic or laparoscopic prostatectomy uses a camera as a less invasive surgery. Cryosurgery is less common and involves freezing the cancer cells. The success rate and risk factors are not yet well-known.
Drugs used in chemotherapy are widely used in treating many forms of cancer. They are typically administered by injection in the veins or orally. Mainly used after the cancer has spread, chemotherapy is considered particularly if hormone therapy has failed. Sometimes to two are used hand-in-hand. Usually, side effects are experienced, including hair loss, sores on the mouth, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, bruising, and fatigue. The good thing is they usually disappear when therapy is complete.
There are numerous methods of treating prostate cancer with radiation therapy. External-beam radiation therapy directs x-rays on the affected area from outside the body. Proton therapy uses protons instead of x-rays. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) creates 3D images of the prostate and Brachytherapy uses instruments to project radiation inside the prostate. Radium-223 dichloride hits bone tumors, sparing the healthy surrounding tissue. This has been a successful method of improving survival rates.
Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT)
Lowering the levels of androgens, the male sex hormones has been linked to slowing down the growth of prostate cancer. This is done by removing the testicles surgically or through the use of drugs. There are a number of different methods, and side effects include impotence, loss of sex drive, hot flashes, the growth of breast tissue, depression, weight gain, muscle loss, and thinning of the bones. Some side effects clear up following treatment.
Like most vaccines, they are administered in order to combat illness and boost the body’s immune system and natural defense mechanisms. Immunotherapy, using Sipuleucel-T, is designed to do this by taking a blood sample to artificially modify a patient’s blood before it is returned to his system. Research continues to check the success rate of lowering PSA levels and the shrinking of tumors. It has been beneficial in men with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer.
Relief of Urinary Blockage
Relieving symptoms of prostate cancer helps with those living with the disease. If a urinary blockage occurs, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a common practice used. Rather than a treatment per say, it alleviates symptoms through an anesthetic-induced procedure in which a snipper attached to a tube is inserted into the urethra to cut a piece of prostate tissue.
Maintaining strong bones is often a challenge for men with prostate cancer. They can also experience bone pain. Strontium and samarium are the radioactive material used to relieve pain. Similarly, Radium-223 reduces pain but targets the bone itself, rather than the surrounding area like strontium and samarium. Bone-building drugs, like denosumab and zoledronic acid, can help strengthen and repair them. A risk is side effects to the jaw including pain, swelling, and infection.
Undergoing a biopsy is an important way of mitigating serious problems down the road. If any abnormalities are detected during a DRE or through a PSA test, a doctor will probably conduct a biopsy. This is a fifteen to twenty-minute procedure done under local anesthetic. A needle is used with the help of an ultrasound probe, both of which are inserted into the rectum and a few samples of suspicious tissue are removed.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Screening has been recognized as a factor in reducing the number of deaths from prostate cancer over the past ten years. This is especially now with longer life expectancies and younger men being proactive with their health. With a PSA test, cancer can be found early, even before any symptoms are noticed. It is accomplished by examining the amount of PSA in a man’s blood. Another option is a DRE or digital rectal exam.
Active Surveillance And Watchful Waiting
Men who have been diagnosed early with slow-growing prostate cancer have options if immediate treatment would cause more harm than good. Active surveillance carefully monitors the disease using regular PSA tests, an annual DRE and biopsies. Watchful waiting is for older men nearing the end of their lives and rather than the above tests; treatments are considered if painful symptoms develop. Patient backgrounds are studied to determine the appropriate use of both methods.