Can Prostate Cancer Be Completely Cured
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. The average age of diagnosis is 66 year olds, although it may affect younger men as well. By age 80, more than half of all men have some cancerous growth in their prostate.
Due to routine screening of prostate-specific antigen levels in the United States, nearly 90% of prostate cancers get detected in early stages. In most cases, the cancer is confined only to the prostate and does not spread to other organs. With the widespread use of screening tests in the United States, early diagnosis of prostate cancer has become much easier.
When found early, there are several treatment options available and prostate cancer has a high chance of getting cured. Moreover, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that takes many years to become big enough to cause symptoms. It also takes quite long to spread to other organs. This gives sufficient time for the doctors to treat it.
Oncologists recommend patients to not rush and take some time to understand the various treatment options available after consulting with more than one doctor. Patients can discuss various modes of treatment with the doctor and select the most appropriate option for their prostate cancer.
The 5-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. There are more than three million survivors of prostate cancer in the United States today.
In Five Years A Major Treatment Shift
In men diagnosed with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, the cancer is typically driven to grow and spread by androgens that are produced largely in the testes. For many years, treatments that block androgen production have been a mainstay for men initially diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.
Starting in 2014, that began to change after a large clinical trial showed that adding the chemotherapy drug docetaxel to ADT improved how long men with hormone-responsive disease lived. Shortly after, another clinical trial showed that adding abiraterone to ADT also improved survival in these men, although primarily in men with many metastatic tumors, known as high-volume disease.
However, docetaxel, which works by directly killing cancer cells, can have substantial side effects, and some patients arent healthy enough to tolerate it. And abirateronewhich blocks androgen production throughout the bodycan also cause side effects, including those that affect the liver. It also has to be given in combination with the steroid prednisone, which carries its own toxicity.
Doing so, Dr. Chi said during a presentation of the TITAN data at the ASCO meeting, might help stave off the typically inevitable development of hormone-resistant cancer, which is more difficult to treat and a key driver of prostate cancer deaths.
What Affects My Treatment Options
Your treatment options will depend on whether your cancer is contained within the prostate gland , has spread just outside of the prostate or had spread to other parts of the body .
You may have a choice of treatments. Your doctor or specialist nurse will explain all your treatment options, and help you to choose the right treatment for you.
Your treatment options and which treatment you choose may depend on several things, including:
- how far your cancer has spread
- how quickly your cancer may be growing
- the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment
- what each treatment involves
- the possible side effects of each treatment
- practical things, such as how often you would need to go to hospital, or how far away your nearest hospital is
- your own thoughts about different treatments
- how the treatment you choose now could affect your treatment options later if your cancer comes back or spreads
- your general health
- how long youre expected to live for.
The first treatment you have may affect which treatments you can have in the future, if you need further treatment. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.
It can help to write down any questions you want to ask at your next appointment. And to take someone to appointments, such as your partner, friend or family member.
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Naturopathic Methods For Treating Cancer
- Anti-oxidant intake: Anti-oxidants are the agents which decrease the concentrations of free radicals in body. Use of plant based diet containing lipoic acid, vitamin C and E can also serve as good source of anti-oxidants.
- Reduction in the rate of inflammatory processes: Inflammation in tissues is known to increase the progression to cancerous cells. Reduction in internal inflammation of cells and tissues can serve as a good measure to treat prostate cancer.
- Detoxification: Removing toxins from the body can help in slowing the progression to cancer as toxic compounds serve as a good source of nutrition source for invasive cancers. Detoxification can be achieved by eating hygienic foods, maintaining regular bowel movements, and ensuring adequate tissue hydration etc.
- Environmental toxins
- Limit the intake of food sprayed or treated with pesticides
- Avoid smoking and alcohol intake
- Reduce red meat intake
- Cancer killing agents: Turmeric which contains curcumin, vitamin D, and modified citrus pectin are the natural agents which are effectively used for killing prostate cancers cells.
It is imperative to mention that not all the cases of prostate malignancy are ideal candidates for natural treatment. Speak to your primary care provider to discuss possible options and recommended solutions.
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Other Items To Consider:
Should I choose surgery or radiation for my prostate cancer?
For men deciding between surgery and radiation for prostate cancer treatment, that may help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Genomic testing and prostate cancer
Genomic tests can help determine how aggressive your prostate cancer is, and this may influence your treatment decisions. Genomic testing can also help you and your doctor learn more about how your cancer might behave. By looking at the genetic makeup of the cancer, these tests may help predict whether your prostate cancer grows slowly or aggressively, therefore influencing treatment decisions.
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Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence
A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.
A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. Although there are treatments to help prevent a recurrence, such as hormonal therapy and radiation therapy, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. There are tools your doctor can use, called nomograms, to estimate someone’s risk of recurrence. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
In general, following surgery or radiation therapy, the PSA level in the blood usually drops. If the PSA level starts to rise again, it may be a sign that the cancer has come back. If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer.
When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including where the recurrence is located. The cancer may come back in the prostate , in the tissues or lymph nodes near the prostate , or in another part of the body, such as the bones, lungs, or liver . Sometimes the doctor cannot find a tumor even though the PSA level has increased. This is known as a PSA-only or biochemical recurrence.
Is Pomegranate Juice Chemopreventive
In rodent studies, scientists have demonstrated a positive effect of pomegranate in reducing cancer cell growth in mice. Studies on human cells show similar promise. This has led some researchers to recommend further exploration of pomegranate extract for human therapeutic use.
As with lycopene, drinking pomegranate juice and eating the whole fruit can easily be incorporated in a balanced, healthy diet. And doing so is not harmful when the juice or fruit is consumed in moderate amounts.
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How Is Prostatitis Treated
Treatment depends on the type of prostatitis.
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome aims to decrease pain, discomfort, and inflammation. A wide range of symptoms exists and no single treatment works for every man. Although antibiotics will not help treat nonbacterial prostatitis, a urologist may prescribe them, at least initially, until the urologist can rule out a bacterial infection. A urologist may prescribe other medications:
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as finasteride and dutasteride
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsalso called NSAIDssuch as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium
- cans such as chondroitin sulfate
- muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine and clonazepam
- neuromodulators such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline , and pregabalin
Alternative treatments may include
- warm baths, called sitz baths
- local heat therapy with hot water bottles or heating pads
- physical therapy, such as
- Kegel exercisestightening and relaxing the muscles that hold urine in the bladder and hold the bladder in its proper position. Also called pelvic muscle exercises.
- myofascial releasepressing and stretching, sometimes with cooling and warming, of the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back, pelvic region, and upper legs. Also known as myofascial trigger point release.
Future Directions For Genetic Testing
Simmons Cancer Center offers comprehensive integrative care for all oncology patients, including the latest advances in genetic testing. One area of active research at Simmons is evaluating the utility of genetic testing to assess the hereditary risk of cancer. Several gaps in genetic testing exist today, including gender inequities, such as the ratio of women to men acquiring testing . Other gaps include African American men having a higher lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer, and lack of education among patients and referring physicians on the availability and costs of testing. Around 90% of patients who meet their insurance criteria for testing end up paying less than $100 out-of-pocket, and the cost is only $250 for patients who pay 100% out-of-pocket.
The most significant risk factors for contracting prostate cancer are age, race, and family history, and there are several key reasons to have genetic testing performed based on these risk factors. Primarily, having a first-degree relative with prostate cancer will put men in the same family at about a 30% higher risk of developing the malignancy. Additionally, outcomes for patients could be improved if they better understand their genetic risk, often allowing them to adopt lifestyle changes based on results. Lastly, genetic testing may help inform selection of specific gene therapies.
1. How common is prostate cancer? Cancer.org website. Updated January 8, 2020. Accessed July 28, 2020.
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Considering Complementary And Alternative Methods
You may hear about alternative or complementary methods that your doctor hasnt mentioned to treat your cancer or relieve symptoms. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.
Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of a doctors medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping you feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be harmful.
Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known about the method, which can help you make an informed decision.
Recurrent Prostate Cancer Treatment
For most patients, initial prostate cancer treatment includes either radiation therapy or surgery. If a patients prostate cancer returns, the other treatment option may be used. In addition, doctors may recommend the use of systemic therapies , like hormone therapy and possibly chemotherapy.
In some cases, patients can have what is known as biochemical recurrence. These patients have elevated PSA levels that indicate the disease has returned, but imaging exams do not show any cancer. Patients with biochemical recurrence are given intermittent hormone therapy and are monitored closely for further changes.
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Call Joe Hall at 844-863-5518 to learn more about his prostate cancer journey. Joes an 11-year prostate cancer survivor and has talked to thousands of men about their prostate cancer.
Veterans, call us at and well help you navigate through the VA system to receive prostate cancer treatment here at Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have prostate cancer, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get prostate cancer?
- What is my Gleason score? What is my Grade Group? What do these numbers mean for me?
- Has the cancer spread outside of the prostate gland?
- What is the best treatment for the stage of prostate cancer I have?
- If I choose active surveillance, what can I expect? What signs of cancer should I look out for?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Is my family at risk for developing prostate cancer? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Am I at risk for other types of cancer?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Prostate cancer is a common cancer that affects males. Most prostate cancers grow slowly and remain in the prostate gland. For a small number, the disease can be aggressive and spread quickly to other parts of the body. Men with slow-growing prostate cancers may choose active surveillance. With this approach, you can postpone, and sometimes completely forego, treatments. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option for you based on your Gleason score and Group Grade.
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What Is Localized Prostate Cancer
Localized prostate cancer is cancer that is only inside your prostate gland and has not spread to other parts of your body. The prostate is a gland in men about the size of a walnut. It makes and stores the liquid that carries sperm.
The prostate is near the bladder and rectum . It is just below the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra .
Most men with localized prostate cancer have few or no symptoms. Possible symptoms can include:
- Problems when you urinate
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain when you ejaculate
- Blood in your urine
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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What Active Surveillance Means
For many men, prostate cancer never affects their lives, said Christopher L. Runz, DO, attending urologist at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. Active surveillance means we actively watch the cancer and make sure it stays low-grade, which means the cancer may potentially never spread.
Active surveillance requires regular prostate specific antigen screenings and MRIs, with occasional biopsies. Men who are older and have a shorter life expectancy become candidates for active surveillance when they have a Gleason score of 7 .
Improving How Long Patients Live
The ENZAMET trialfunded in part by the drugs manufacturer, Astellas Pharma, as well as government health agencies in Canada and Australiaenrolled more than 1,100 men with hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer. The men were randomly assigned to ADT combined with enzalutamide or with any of three other androgen-blocking drugs.
At a median follow-up of nearly 3 years, men who received ADT plus enzalutamide had a 33% reduced risk of death, with 80% still alive compared with 72% of men treated with ADT plus another antiandrogen drug, reported the trials lead investigator, Christopher Sweeney, M.B.B.S., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Men in the enzalutamide group also had better clinical progression-free survival , which the research team defined as the time until the return of disease-related symptoms, the detection of new metastases on imaging scans, or the initiation of another cancer treatment for prostate cancer, whichever came first. At 3 years, 63% of men in the enzalutamide group were alive without clinical progression of their disease, compared with 33% in the standard treatment group.
Although enzalutamide appeared to be effective regardless of whether men had high- or low-volume disease, one apparent differentiating factor was planned early treatment with docetaxel. Nearly half of the men in both treatment groups received early treatment with docetaxel and, for those men, enzalutamide was not associated with longer overall survival.
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