Prostate Cancer Treatments May Affect Your Quality Of Life
Prostate cancer affects one in nine U.S. men. While a cancer diagnosis can be scary, prostate cancer has high survivor rates, especially when it is caught and treated early. For many prostate cancer patients, the treatment decision is less about choosing a life-saving option and more about protecting their quality of life after treatment. Certain treatments may cause side effects like frequent urination, pelvic pain or erectile dysfunction. Thats why it is important to turn to oncologists with expertise in diagnosing and treating the disease, so they can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor Or Nurse
You may find it helpful to keep a note of any questions you have to take to your next appointment. If youre choosing a treatment, you might find it helpful to ask your doctor or nurse some of these questions.
- What treatments are suitable for me?
- How quickly do I need to make a decision?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment? What are their side effects?
- How effective is my treatment likely to be?
- Can I see the results of treatments youve carried out?
- Is the aim to keep my prostate cancer under control, or to get rid of it completely?
- If the aim of my treatment is to get rid of the cancer, what is the risk of my cancer coming back after treatment?
- If the aim of my treatment is to keep the cancer under control, how long might it keep it under control for?
- What treatments and support are available to help manage side effects?
- Are all of the treatments available at my local hospital? If not, how could I have them?
- After treatment, how often will I have check-ups and what will this involve? How will we know if my cancer starts to grow again?
- If my treatment doesnt work, what other treatments are available?
- Can I join any clinical trials?
- If I have any questions or get any new symptoms, who should I contact?
Tips For Talking With Your Partner
Feeling less of a desire to have sex or having trouble getting an erection may affect your relationship. Try to be as open with your partner as you can. Here are some tips:
- Bring your partner with you to doctors visits. Being part of the conversation may help them understand what youre experiencing.
- Listen to your partners concerns, too. Remember that this issue affects both of you.
- See a therapist or a sex therapist to help you work out any issues that are affecting your sex life.
- If sex is a problem right now, its possible to fulfill each other sexually in other ways. Cuddling, kissing, and caressing can also be pleasurable.
Read Also: Prostate Cancer Treatment In Israel
Cambridge Brilliant Minds Are Transforming The Lives Of Breast And Prostate Cancer Patients
After a cancer diagnosis, patients and doctors try to make a decision about what treatment options they will provide the best chance of extending or improving quality of life. This discussion should consider both the benefits and the harms that treatment could do. Until recently, very few tools were available to support this critical process..
The one of breast is the most common cancer among women and affects more than two million of them each year. Those who experience early breast cancer are often faced with the agonizing decision to receive add-on chemotherapy, a treatment that is suggested in addition to surgery, with the goal of stopping the cancer from coming back.
Some women continue to suffer a over-treatment by undergoing invasive and unpleasant therapy It will not increase your chances of survival. Others become victims of insufficient treatment, without therapies that could have improved their outcome.
The prostate cancer, meanwhile, it is the second most common cancer in men, with around 1.3 million cases worldwide each year. The radical therapy Immediate for many of these patients carries a high risk of serious adverse effects, such as incontinence, impotence, and bowel dysfunction, while providing little therapeutic benefit.
Determined to improve outcomes for these men and women, Cambridge researchers developed Predict, a pair of online risk communication tools that facilitate informed decision-making about treatment.
The way to integrate
Also in prostate
Questions About Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors, including the type and location of the disease. Here are the answers to some common questions about prostate cancer treatment:Should I consider surgery?
Candidates for surgery to treat prostate cancer have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Overall good health
- No spread of cancer to bone
- Tumor confined to the prostate gland
- Under the age of 70
- Expected to live another 10 years or more
Depending on the extent of your disease, there are two main surgical options: radical prostatectomy or robotic or laparoscopic prostatectomy.
Is radiation an option for me?
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® , our radiation oncologists use a variety of therapies and tools to deliver maximum radiation doses to tumors, with less damage to healthy tissues and organs. Focusing the radiation directly on the tumor may lower the risk of side effects. Our range of radiation therapy options includes external beam radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, high-dose rate brachytherapy and low-dose rate brachytherapy.
- A small tumor that is confined to the prostate
- A slow-growing cancer
- A cancer that is at low risk of growing locally or spreading
Recommended Reading: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Is Commonly Associated With
When Should You Get Immediate Treatment For Prostate Cancer
If your cancer is advanced or higher-risk, you will probably need treatment right away. Signs of higher-risk cancer include:
- PSA value that is high or rapidly rising.
- Test results show that the tumor is outside the prostate gland. Or the tumor is growing rapidly and is likely to spread outside the gland.
- Gleason score is high-risk.
Ask your team if your cancer shows any of these signs. If so, active surveillance may not be a good choice.
Cancer Staging May Miss Errant Cells
Once a pathologist confirms that cancer is present, the doctor will next determine how far the cancer extends a process known as cancer staging and discuss the implications with you. This is perhaps the most important information of all for you to obtain, as it determines whether the cancer is likely to be curable, or whether it has already spread to additional tissues, making prognosis much worse.
If you were my patient, I would ask you to consider two important points. First, cancer staging actually occurs in two phases: clinical and pathological . Of the two, pathological staging is more accurate.
A second point to understand, however, is that even pathological staging can be inaccurate . A cancer spreads, or metastasizes, once a primary tumor sheds cancer cells that travel elsewhere in the body and establish other tumor sites. Metastasis is a complex process that researchers do not fully understand. What is clear is that this process involves multiple genetic mutations and steps, and that each type of cancer spreads in a unique way.
You May Like: Hormone Therapy For Advanced Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy
Surgically Removing The Prostate Gland
A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate gland. This treatment is an option for curing prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has not spread very far.
Like any operation, this surgery carries some risks.
A recent trial showed possible long-term side effects of radical prostatectomy may include an inability to get an erection and urinary incontinence.
Before having any treatment, 67% of men said they could get erections firm enough for intercourse.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had decreased to 12%. When asked again after 6 years, it had slightly improved to 17%.
For urinary incontinence, 1% of men said they used absorbent pads before having any treatment.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had increased to 46%. After 6 years, this had improved to 17%.
Out of the men who were actively monitored instead, 4% were using absorbent pads at 6 months and 8% after 6 years.
In extremely rare cases, problems arising after surgery can be fatal.
It’s possible that prostate cancer can come back again after treatment. Your doctor should be able to explain the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment, based on things like your PSA level and the stage of your cancer.
After a radical prostatectomy, you’ll no longer ejaculate during sex. This means you will not be able to have a child through sexual intercourse.
Considering Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
For most men diagnosed with prostate cancer, the cancer is found while it’s still at an early stage — it’s small and has not spread beyond the prostate gland. These men often have several treatment options to consider.
Not every man with prostate cancer needs to be treated right away. If you have early-stage prostate cancer, there are many factors such as your age and general health, and the likelihood that the cancer will cause problems for you to consider before deciding what to do. You should also think about the possible side effects of treatment and how likely they are to bother you. Some men, for example, may want to avoid possible side effects such as incontinence or erection problems for as long as possible. Other men are less concerned about these side effects and more concerned about removing or destroying the cancer.
If you’re older or have other serious health problems and your cancer is slow growing , you might find it helpful to think of prostate cancer as a chronic disease that will probably not lead to your death but may cause symptoms you want to avoid. You may think more about watchful waiting or active surveillance, and less about treatments that are likely to cause major side effects, such as radiation and surgery. Of course, age itself is not necessarily the best reason for your choice. Many men are in good mental and physical shape at age 70, while some younger men may not be as healthy.
Don’t Miss: How Is Prostate Laser Surgery Performed
Is Prostate Cancer Curable
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, second only to skin cancer. Learning that one has any type of cancer isnt easy, but the first question on most patients minds after diagnosis is, is prostate cancer curable?
The short answer is yes, prostate cancer can be cured, when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment. Treatment doesnt always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy, either. Non-invasive radiation therapy can effectively treat prostate cancer in the case of Pasadena CyberKnife, radiosurgery treatment generally takes less than a week, and you can typically resume your normal activities the same day you receive treatment.
Some Things To Consider When Choosing Among Treatments
Before deciding on treatment, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Are you the type of person who needs to do something about your cancer, even if it might result in serious side effects?
- Would you be comfortable with watchful waiting or active surveillance, even if it means you might have more anxiety and need more frequent follow-up appointments in the future?
- Do you need to know right away whether your doctor was able to get all of the cancer out ? Or are you comfortable with not knowing the results of treatment for a while if it means not having to have surgery?
- Do you prefer to go with the newest technology , which might have some advantages? Or do you prefer to go with better proven treatments that doctors might have more experience with?
- Which potential treatment side effects might be most distressing to you?
- How important for you are issues like the amount of time spent in treatment or recovery?
- If your initial treatment is not successful, what would your options be at that point?
Many men find it very stressful to have to choose between treatment options, and are very fearful they will choose the âwrongâ one. In many cases, there is no single best option, so itâs important to take your time and decide which option is right for you.
Don’t Miss: Steps To Prevent Prostate Cancer
What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Early-stage prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms. These problems may occur as the disease progresses:
- Frequent, sometimes urgent, need to urinate, especially at night.
- Weak urine flow or flow that starts and stops.
- Painful urination .
- Painful ejaculation and erectile dysfunction .
- Blood in semen or urine.
- Lower back pain, hip pain and chest pain.
- Leg or feet numbness.
Getting Help With Treatment Decisions
Making such a complex decision is often hard to do by yourself. You might find it helps to talk with your family and friends before making a decision. You might also find it helpful to speak with other men who have faced or are currently facing the same issues. The American Cancer Society and other organizations offer support programs where you can meet and discuss these and other cancer-related issues. For more information about our programs, call us toll-free at 1-800-227-2345 or see Find Support Programs and Services.
Itâs important to know that each manâs experience with prostate cancer is different. Just because someone you know had a good experience with a certain type of treatment doesnât mean the same will be true for you.
You might also want to consider getting more than one medical opinion, perhaps even from different types of doctors. For early-stage cancers, it is natural for surgical specialists, such as urologists, to favor surgery and for radiation oncologists to lean more toward radiation therapy. Doctors specializing in newer types of treatment may be more likely to recommend their therapies. Talking to each of them might give you a better perspective on your options. Your primary care doctor may also be helpful in sorting out which treatment might be right for you.
Also Check: How To Self Examine For Prostate Cancer
Quality Of Life With Advanced Stage Prostate Cancer
Since Huggins and Hodges won a Nobel Prize in 1966 for their work describing the relationship between testosterone and prostate cancer, androgen deprivation has continued to be an important component in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. It is associated, however, with significant cost in terms of morbidity as well as economics. Side effects of androgen deprivation therapy include hot flashes, osteoporosis, loss of libido or impotence, and psychological effects such as depression, memory difficulties, or emotional lability. Recently Harle and colleagues reported insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, metabolic syndrome, and metabolic complications being associated with castration and thus being responsible for increased cardiovascular mortality in this population.
Because of the palliative nature of androgen ablation, quality of life is an important component of evaluating competing therapies. Intermittent androgen deprivation is one approach to hormonal therapy that has been developed with the aim of minimizing the negative effects of therapy while maximizing clinical benefits and the patients quality of life. It can be used in any clinical situation where continuous androgen deprivation treatment could be applied.
Talk To Your Cancer Care Team
Your team is an important source of advice. Some men may benefit from having a low-risk tumor treated right away, even if they might have side effects. Discuss your treatment options and quality-of-life issues with your team.
This report is for you to use when talking with your health-care provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Also Check: Best Diet To Fight Prostate Cancer
What Will This Summary Tell Me
This summary will tell you about:
- What localized prostate cancer is
- Common treatment options for localized prostate cancer
- What researchers found about how the treatments compare
- Possible side effects of the treatments
- Things to talk about with your doctor
This summary does not cover:
- How to prevent prostate cancer
- Less common treatments for localized prostate cancer, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound , cryotherapy , proton-beam radiation therapy , and stereotactic body radiation therapy
- Herbal products or vitamins and minerals
- Treatments for cancer that has spread outside the prostate gland
*In this summary, the term doctor refers to your health care professional, including your primary care physician, urologist, oncologist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.
Often Prostate Cancer Is Low
Many prostate cancers are found with a PSA blood test. Often these cancers are low-risk. This means:
- The tumor is small.
- It is contained within the prostate.
- It is probably growing so slowly that it will not become life-threatening.
Usually a man with low-risk prostate cancer dies of something else, even if he doesnt get treatment.
You May Like: Prostate Cancer Pill Hope For Thousands
Will Treatment Cause Erectile Dysfunction
When youre sexually excited, nerves cause tissues in your penis to relax, allowing blood to flow into the organ. The nerves that control erection are very delicate. Surgery or radiation for prostate cancer may damage them enough to cause ED. When you have ED, you cant get or keep an erection.
Radical prostatectomy is a surgery to remove the prostate gland. When your surgeon removes the gland, they may damage the nerves and blood vessels that run along it. If theyre damaged enough, you wont be able to get an erection following the procedure.
Today, doctors can do nerve-sparing surgery, which helps prevent permanent ED. Your surgeon can still touch those nerves and blood vessels, causing ED as a temporary side effect. Many men have trouble getting an erection for a few weeks, months, or even years after their procedure.
Radiation therapy also damages blood vessels and the nerves that control erection. Up to half of men who have radiation for prostate cancer experience ED afterward. In some men, this symptom will improve with time. Sometimes radiation side effects dont appear until a few months after the treatment. If ED starts late, it may not be as likely to go away.
A few treatments can help with ED until youre able to have erections on your own again.
Additional treatments include the following: