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Treatment

 

Your treatment for prostate cancer will depend on a number of factors such as your age and whether the cancer has spread and if so, how far. There are a number of treatments which are described below. Some can have serious side effects so it is important to discuss them in more detail with your doctor who will advise you which treatment is best for you.

Active monitoring / watchful waiting:

Sometimes, particularly for slow growing tumours, no treatment is the best course of action. Your condition will be monitored closely with routine check ups. You can start treatment at any time and will be advised to do so if tests show the cancer is growing.

Surgery:

It is most suitable for otherwise healthy men (usually, those under 70) whose cancer has not spread beyond the prostate. The most common technique is a radical prostatectomy. This is a major operation, which removes the whole of the prostate, seminal vesicles and nearby lymph nodes.

Radiotherapy:

This uses radiation to destroy cancer cells. There are newer techniques that are used for treating prostate cancer with radiotherapy include conformal radiotherapy (CRT) or high resolution intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Conformal radiotherapy shapes the radiation beams to match the shape of the prostate. This reduces the radiation received by the healthy surrounding cells in nearby organs such as the bladder and rectum. This lowers the side effects and may allow higher doses to be given which could be more effective. IMRT allows the radiotherapist to vary the dose of radiotherapy given to the tumour and surrounding tissue.

Brachytherapy:

This involves implanting radioactive seeds into, or next to, the tumour in your prostate. Radiation can be released slowly over time. The seeds lose their radioactivity over about a year. This therapy is more effective if the tumour is small and you have early prostate cancer.

New treatments:

There are new treatments being developed such as cryotherapy. This is surgery to freeze the prostate with liquid gas and kill cancer cells. High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment given using a machine that gives off high frequency sound waves. Some cancer cells die when this is focused directly onto them. New surgical developments include keyhole surgery (a laparoscopic prostatectomy) where the prostate is removed through smaller incisions.