In Australia each year, approximately 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. In fact, prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the country. If the condition is diagnosed and treated early, the outlook for a full recovery is positive. Following diagnosis and treatment, the ongoing management of prostate cancer is vital for patient recovery and quality of life.
With this in mind, what impact does prostate cancer treatment have on a man’s quality of life moving forward?
If you have any concerns about prostate cancer, make an appointment with a urologist. To locate one near year, just search online. “Best prostate cancer treatment Sydney” is an example of what to search for.
Let’s take a look at the most common prostate cancer treatments and what the expected outcomes are.
Active Surveillance Without Aggressive Treatment
If you are diagnosed with a low-grade form of prostate cancer, active surveillance will be the initial treatment option rather than having surgery. Surveillance means you get to avoid any of the possible complications or side effects associated with surgery.
However, just because the prostate is considered low-volume, it should regularly be monitored to determine if there are any changes. This entails regular testing to see whether the disease has progressed or not. Testing may include a PSA blood test, biopsies and the use of multiparametric MRI prostate technology. MRI scanning negates the need for repeated biopsies of the prostate.
In order for active surveillance to be effective, the patient must be completely cooperative. If the cancer doesn’t spread, the expectation for a good quality of life moving forward is optimistic.
Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
This procedure involves the entire removal of the prostate gland, associated pelvic lymph nodes and the seminal vesicles. The ultimate outcome of this surgery is to ensure all cancerous tissue has been removed. Prostatectomy surgery is often recommended when the cancer is confined locally and hasn’t spread.
Modern methods ensure that most nerves and blood vessels in the area of the surgery are spared, allowing the patient to have normal erectile function post-surgery. Naturally, this will have a huge impact on the quality of life of the patient moving forward and many men resume a normal sex life after radical prostatectomy surgery.
This treatment is a good alternative to the surgery mentioned above. If the patient’s cancer is in the low-risk category, then brachytherapy might be the best treatment option.
With brachytherapy, there are 2 types of treatment options:
- High dose rate brachytherapy
- Iodine seed brachytherapy
Each procedure involves the implantation of radioactive material into the prostate gland. This is guided by a transrectal ultrasound, allowing the radiation dosage to accurately target those cancer cells. This methodology ensures surrounding tissues and organs unaffected by cancer are not damaged.
The outcome is an effective cancer treatment with little to no impact on the rest of the body, culminating in a positive outcome and normal life post-surgery.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
If prostate cancer is localised but not entirely confined to the prostate gland and the patient cannot undergo a surgical procedure, a good option is external beam radiation therapy. The cancer cells are targeted with an external radiation beam to neutralise them. Patients will consult first with a radiation oncologist for this particular prostate cancer treatment.
Once again, quality of life following the procedure is generally very good.
Androgen Deprivation Therapy
No matter which treatment a patient has had for prostate cancer, there is always the risk that either some cancer will remain or the cancer will return. If this is the case, androgen deprivation therapy is the course of action for effective treatment following a procedure.
Androgens are male hormones. These hormones are involved in male sexual development and include testosterone. The downside is, these same hormones can promote the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
Androgen deprivation therapy is used to block the production of androgens. This effectively stunts the growth of cancer cells and causes them to shrink. This is not a cure, but rather a procedure that markedly slows down the spread of the cancer, extending the patient’s quality of life.
If prostate cancer is detected early on and treated with the correct procedure, then the outlook for a normal and productive life is excellent.