Seven Types Of Standard Treatment Are Used:
Watchful waiting or active surveillance
Watchful waiting and active surveillance are treatments used for older men who do not have signs or symptoms or have other medical conditions and for men whose prostate cancer is found during a screening test.
Active surveillance is closely following a patient’s condition without giving any treatment unless there are changes in test results. It is used to find early signs that the condition is getting worse. In active surveillance, patients are given certain exams and tests, including digital rectal exam, PSA test, transrectal ultrasound, and transrectal needle biopsy, to check if the cancer is growing. When the cancer begins to grow, treatment is given to cure the cancer.
Other terms that are used to describe not giving treatment to cure prostate cancer right after diagnosis are observation, watch and wait, and expectant management.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer
About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments and some men dont need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.
Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer depend on where the cancer has spread to. Find out about the possible symptoms and when to see your doctor.
Advanced prostate cancer means that a cancer that began in the prostate gland has spread to another part of the body. If your cancer has spread you might:
- have bone pain
- have weight loss for no known reason
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Risk Factors You Can Control
Diet seems to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, which is much more common in countries where meat and high-fat dairy are mainstays. The reason for this link is unclear. Dietary fat, particularly animal fat from red meat, may boost male hormone levels. And this may fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells. A diet too low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role.
What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need
There are many ways to treat prostate cancer. The main kinds of treatment are observation, active surveillance, surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemo. Sometimes more than one kind of treatment is used.
The treatment thats best for you will depend on:
- Your age
- Any other health problems you might have
- The stage and grade of the cancer
- Your feelings about the need to treat the cancer
- The chance that treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
- Your feelings about the side effects that might come with treatment
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What If A Screening Test Shows An Elevated Psa Level
If a man who has no symptoms of prostate cancer chooses to undergo prostate cancer screening and is found to have an elevated PSA level, the doctor may recommend another PSA test to confirm the original finding. If the PSA level is still high, the doctor may recommend that the man continue with PSA tests and DREs at regular intervals to watch for any changes over time.
If a mans PSA level continues to rise or if a suspicious lump is detected during a DRE, the doctor may recommend additional tests to determine the nature of the problem. A urine test may be recommended to check for a urinary tract infection. The doctor may also recommend imaging tests, such as a transrectal ultrasound, x-rays, or cystoscopy.
If prostate cancer is suspected, the doctor will recommend a prostate biopsy. During this procedure, multiple samples of prostate tissue are collected by inserting hollow needles into the prostate and then withdrawing them. Most often, the needles are inserted through the wall of the rectum . A pathologist then examines the collected tissue under a microscope. The doctor may use ultrasound to view the prostate during the biopsy, but ultrasound cannot be used alone to diagnose prostate cancer.
What Are The Stages Of Prostate Cancer
Your healthcare provider uses the Gleason score and Grade Groups to stage prostate cancer based on its projected aggressiveness. To get this information, the pathologist:
- Assigns a grade to each type of cell in your sample. Cells are graded on a scale of three to five . Samples that test in the one to two range are considered normal tissue.
- Adds together the two most common grades to get your Gleason score .
- Uses the Gleason score to place you into a Grade Group ranging from one to five. A Gleason score of six puts you in Grade Group 1 . A score of nine or higher puts you in Grade Group five . Samples with a higher portion of more aggressive cells receive a higher Grade Group.
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Stages Of Prostate Cancer
Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how muchcancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is oftencalled the extent of the cancer. Informationfrom tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parts of the organhave cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started andwhere the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plantreatment and estimate the outcome . The following staginginformation is for adenocarcinoma, which makes up 95% of all prostate cancers.Other types of prostate cancer are staged differently.
The most common staging system for prostate cancer is the AJCC/UICCTNM system. Doctors often also use a simple staging system that describeswhether the cancer has spread and if so, where it has spread. Doctors furtherclassify prostate cancers into risk groups based on whether they are likely to comeback .
How Is The Psa Test Used In Men Who Have Been Treated For Prostate Cancer
The PSA test is often used to monitor patients who have a history of prostate cancer to see if their cancer has recurred . If a mans PSA level begins to rise after prostate cancer treatment, it may be the first sign of a recurrence. Such a biochemical relapse typically appears months or years before other clinical signs and symptoms of prostate cancer recurrence.
However, a single elevated PSA measurement in a patient who has a history of prostate cancer does not always mean that the cancer has come back. A man who has been treated for prostate cancer should discuss an elevated PSA level with his doctor. The doctor may recommend repeating the PSA test or performing other tests to check for evidence of a recurrence. The doctor may look for a trend of rising PSA level over time rather than a single elevated PSA level.
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Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented
There are no clear prevention strategies for prostate cancer. There is some conflicting evidence that a healthy diet composed of low fat, high vegetables and fruits may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Routine screening, with PSA blood test and physical exam, is important to detect prostate cancer at an early stage. A healthy diet and regular exercise are also critical in maintaining good health and preventing disease in general.
Why Choose Md Anderson For Your Prostate Cancer Treatment
Choosing the right hospital may be the most important decision you make as a prostate cancer patient. At MD Anderson youll get care and support from one of the nations top-ranked cancer centers.
Here, you can benefit from the expertise at our Multidisciplinary Prostate Clinic. Most newly diagnosed patients with intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer have a choice between surgery or radiation therapy. During your first clinic visit you will have a joint appointment with a radiation oncologist and surgeon who both specialize in prostate cancer. The three of you will review your case and discuss your treatment options. Your doctors may even discuss clinical trials with you, which could offer better outcomes than standard treatments.
If you have a more complex cancer, such as a disease that has recurred or spread, we offer the most advanced therapies. Thanks to our robust research and clinical trial programs, these may include new surgical options or new cancer drugs, such as targeted therapy or immunotherapy.
Finally, all patients can benefit from the services MD Anderson offers as a comprehensive cancer center. These include social work counseling, nutrition and exercise guidance, psychiatric support and care for health problems that may be impacted by your cancer, such as diabetes and arthritis.
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Treatment Of Prostate Cancer And Sexual Function
Prostate cancer treatments include surgery, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Each treatment method is selected primarily according to the disease stage of the patient. In prostate cancer treatment, as testosterone is involved in the prostate and its mechanism of action, erectile dysfunction often occurs as a critical complication regardless of the selection of a surgical treatment or hormonal therapy.
How Is Prostate Cancer Treated
There are many treatment options for cancer limited to the prostate gland. You and your doctor should carefully consider each option. Weigh the benefits and risk as they relate to the aggressiveness and/or stage of the cancer as well as your age, overall health, and personal preferences. Standard treatments include:
- Surgery : The surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen or through the perineum and removes the prostate. If they cannot remove the entire tumor, you may need radiation therapy. You will need to keep a urinary catheter in place for several weeks after the procedure. Possible side effects can include incontinence and impotence. Some surgeons may use three small incisions to do robot-assisted prostatectomy. This may result in a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. This procedure may be preferable for some patients, but not for all.
- External beam therapy : a method for delivering a beam of high-energy x-rays or proton beams to the location of the tumor. The radiation beam is generated outside the patient and is targeted at the tumor site. These radiation beams can destroy the cancer cells, and conformal treatment plans allow the surrounding normal tissues to be spared. See the External Beam Therapy page for more information.
- Active surveillance: No treatment, with careful observation and medical monitoring.
Advanced treatment options may avoid or minimize some of the side effects associated with standard therapies. These options include:
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Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer .
- The patients age.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred .
Treatment options also may depend on the following:
- Whether the patient has other health problems.
- The expected side effects of treatment.
- Past treatment for prostate cancer.
- The wishes of the patient.
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die of it.
Tests Used To Check The Prostate
This first step lets your doctor hear and understand the “story” of your prostate concerns. You’ll be asked whether you have symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and how much they affect your lifestyle. Your personal medical history also includes any risk factors, pain, fever, or trouble passing urine. You may be asked to give a urine sample for testing.
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Identification Of Candidates For Observation
Prostate cancer is in most cases a slowly progressive disease. However, early localized disease is curable whereas metastatic disease is not. Thus, a continued debate among clinicians is whether to treat early to prevent disseminated disease, or observe and delay treatment until there is evidence of progression. The former risks harm from overtreatment of an indolent disease whereas the latter risks missing an opportunity for cure among those destined to experience progression. An unmet need is to identify the relatively small proportion of men with a lethal phenotype in whom death can be prevented by curative intervention, while avoiding treatment of the large pool of indolent disease that can be detected with screening.
Selection of patients for active surveillance depends upon patient and tumor metrics, as well as a patient’s personal preferences. The age, comorbidities, and estimated life expectancy of the patient are important to consider given that prostate cancer can be a slowly progressive disease that may not have time to progress in those whose remaining years of life are limited. In this respect, tools for estimating life expectancy can be useful in decision making.
This Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Help Change The Future Of Prostate Cancer
1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. This September alone, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it is estimated that more than 1,900 Canadian lives will be forever changed by the words, You have prostate cancer. But people affected by prostate cancer dont have to face their diagnosis alone. Together, we can create a world where no one fears prostate cancer by funding Canadas most promising prostate cancer research and life-changing support programs.This month, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference in the lives of those affected by the disease.
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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.
Gleason Score For Grading Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is also given a grade called a Gleason score. This score is based on how much the cancer looks like healthy tissue when viewed under a microscope. Less aggressive tumors generally look more like healthy tissue. Tumors that are more aggressive are likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body. They look less like healthy tissue.
The Gleason scoring system is the most common prostate cancer grading system used. The pathologist looks at how the cancer cells are arranged in the prostate and assigns a score on a scale of 3 to 5 from 2 different locations. Cancer cells that look similar to healthy cells receive a low score. Cancer cells that look less like healthy cells or look more aggressive receive a higher score. To assign the numbers, the pathologist determines the main pattern of cell growth, which is the area where the cancer is most obvious, and then looks for another area of growth. The doctor then gives each area a score from 3 to 5. The scores are added together to come up with an overall score between 6 and 10.
Gleason scores of 5 or lower are not used. The lowest Gleason score is 6, which is a low-grade cancer. A Gleason score of 7 is a medium-grade cancer, and a score of 8, 9, or 10 is a high-grade cancer. A lower-grade cancer grows more slowly and is less likely to spread than a high-grade cancer.
There Are Different Types Of Treatment For Patients With Prostate Cancer
Different types of treatment are available for patients withprostate cancer. Some treatments are standard , and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.
Talking With Your Doctor
Different kinds of doctors and other health care professionals manage prostate health. They can help you find the best care, answer your questions, and address your concerns. These health care professionals include:
- Family doctors and internists
- Physician assistants and nurse practitioners
- Urologists, who are experts in diseases of the urinary tract system and the male reproductive system
- Urologic oncologists, who are experts in treating cancers of the urinary system and the male reproductive system
- Radiation oncologists, who use radiation therapy to treat cancer
- Medical oncologists, who treat cancer with medications such as hormone treatments and chemotherapy
- Pathologists, who identify diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope
View these professionals as your partnersâexpert advisors and helpers in your health care. Talking openly with your doctors can help you learn more about your prostate changes and the tests to expect.
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