Prostate cancer affects an estimated 250,000 men each year in the U.S. Many fall into the “watchful waiting” category. This means that your doctor will observe the progression of the disease before deciding to administer a treatment.
But when and if the watchful waiting period ends, choosing a treatment can be a difficult decision.
A new study just released by the University of California gives further proof that treatments should be chosen carefully. Study leader, Dr. Mark S. Litwin, states that men “are best served by thoughtfully considering both cure rates and quality-of-life implications in their decision-making.”
The study looked at 580 men with prostate cancer who had undergone radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation therapy, or brachytherapy.
Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland. External beam therapy involves the use of radiation targeted to kill cancer cells. And brachytherapy uses radioactive “seeds” that are put into the prostate close to the cancer cells, where they continuously release low levels of radiation.
The study found that urinary problems and sexual function were worse after a prostatectomy. Seed implants created the next highest category of problems, followed by radiation therapy.
Those who had either internal or external radiation therapy had the highest occurrence of bowel problems, compared to those who had prostate surgery.
Some patients in all three groups reported severe urinary problems and severe sexual difficulties.
The researchers concluded that this study is a call for doctors to be concerned about the quality of a prostate cancer patient’s life, and not just the quantity.
If you or someone you know is considering prostate cancer treatment, make sure you understand the risks involved and weigh your options.
Are There Alternative Treatments for Prostate Cancer?
Magnetic-rod therapy involves the use of tiny magnetic rods that are placed inside the prostate permanently. Magnetic therapy is applied once the rods are in place. This causes the rods to heat up and burn away surrounding cancerous tissue.
Tests have been done to determine the effectiveness of magnetic-rod therapy. Doctors have discovered that healthy cells around magnetic rods remained largely undamaged. This helps to keep the side effects of this treatment low, when compared to other treatments.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to learn more about prostate cancer treatments, their effectiveness, and possible side effects.