Everyone Wants A Cure,
But May Need To Settle For Treatment!

Prostate cancer treatment involves many options. The prognosis, even with aggressive treatment, may not result in a cure.

Treatment has advanced significantly in recent years. A patient has many more options than in the past. It is even possible to eradicate the cancer when it is detected in the earlier stages.

I will list some of the many treatment options:

  • Radiation Therapy - Cancer cells are more sensitive to x-radiation than normal cells. Because non-cancer cells are also affected by radiation, there is a risk that they too, will be damaged. The advances in radiation therapy are continually improving and treatments are changing.
  • Brachytherapy - Radioactive pellets or seeds are placed in the prostate gland. The radioactivity of the seeds lasts a few months. The seeds are placed with great accuracy to the site of the cancer aided ultrasound and fluoroscopy. The objective is the same as with radiation therapy - to destroy the cancer cells.
  • Cryotherapy - This is another way to destroy cancer cells. Cryotherapy has been used for years to treat other forms of cancer. The cancerous tissue is subjected to very cold temperatures using probes containing Argon gas. This type of treatment requires warming adjacent tissues to prevent their injury.

 

Surgery (radical prostatectomy) - This procedure removes the prostate, the seminal vesicles, and the lymph nodes near the prostate gland. This procedure requires a large incision as compared to prostate removal via a laparoscopic procedure or robotic system.

Side Effects of Treatment!

Among the side effects of prostate cancer treatments are:

  • Urinary Incontinence - This is more common after surgery, however it can happen after radiation therapy. It is involuntary urine leakage. It can be embarrassing, but there are medication remedies.
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED) - Surgery can severe the nerves that control an erection. This is a risk after most prostate cancer treatments. Drugs, such as Viagra or Cialis may help. There are, also, a variety of drugs available as penile injections that can create an erection. Penile implants and vacuum devices are also available.

When Treatment Fails, What Are The Options?

Prostate cancer treatment can fail at any level of care. I am going to limit this discussion to those treatments that occur after the treatments listed above have failed. That means the PSA is rising and the cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area.

Usually it spreads to lymph nodes and to bone. This is described as "advanced metastatic prostate cancer". Keep in mind that the cancer cells in other tissues are prostate cancer. Therefore, the methods of treating prostate cancer will treat the cancer in bone or lymph nodes or elsewhere.

Hormonal Treatment - This is known as "androgen deprivation therapy" (ADT). In my mind, it is not hormonal therapy, but, deprivation therapy as the name implies, because it prevents testosterone from being produced. It is testosterone that fuels the prostate cancer.

Triple Hormone Therapy includes the following drugs:

  • a drug that blocks the function of testosterone (androgen receptor inhibitor)
  • a drug that inhibits the pituitary gland from sending a hormone that tells the body to make testosterone (leutinizing hormone-releasing hormone antagonist)
  • a drug that blocks the adrenal gland from changing testosterone into the more powerful dihydrotestosterone (5-alpha Reductase Inhibitor)

Other Options when hormonal therapy no longer works - According to some doctors different combinations of hormone therapy should be tried before other options are considered. The list of other therapies is long and continues to grow. It includes: chemotherapy, vaccine therapy, and immunotherapy.

Does Diet Have A Role In Prostate Cancer Treatment?

There is evidence that our environment, including diet, has a role in acquiring many types of cancer. We know about radiation, asbestos, and tobacco smoke. Those are known carcinogens. They can cause cancer.

But, what about diet? Can a poor diet cause cancer? Dr. Michael Dattoli, in his book, "Prostate Cancer Solution", states: "We know there is a link between diets high in saturated and total fat and an increased risk of prostate cancer."

Does diet have a role in treating prostate cancer? In his book, "Beating Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy & Diet" Dr. Charles Myers states: "...it is difficult to obtain durable complete remissions in metastatic prostate cancer with any frequency if you ignore diet and supplements."

Most good parents will preach "finish your vegetables". Most nutritionists advocate eating more fruits and vegetables. Because hormone therapy tends to result in weight gain, Dr. Myers recommends that his patients go on the Mediterranean diet and get regular exercise.


Disclaimer: I am not a physician and the information on this web site is for informational purposes only. Consult with your physician regarding any medical concerns and issues.


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