The medical provider will use the tumors grade and stage to determine which treatment options will be most beneficial and effective.
Since prostate cancer grows slowly, doctors may choose to delay treatment in men with other serious health issues and instead actively monitor its growth. If chosen, this approach would involve close monitoring of tumor growth with regular testing to ensure that the tumor remains relatively small, is not invading other tissues, and is not causing other health issues.
Surgery is used to remove the tumor manually. The most common surgery is a radical prostatectomy, which involves removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. The side effects of prostate surgery can be severe and include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, bleeding, blood clots, and infections at the surgery site.
Radiation can be applied externally (external beam radiation) or internally inside the tumor (brachytherapy). The purpose of radiation is to completely get rid of low-grade tumors that have remained within the prostate gland, or to relieve symptoms and control tumor growth in men with high-grade tumors. The side effects of radiation include urinary, erectile and bowel problems in addition to fatigue, swelling, and pain.
Cryotherapy is a method that quickly freezes and kills prostate cancer tissue. Generally, doctors use cryotherapy to treat early-stage or low-grade prostate cancer. This procedure is not typically used as a first line of defense and is instead an option if the cancer has come back after treatment with other therapies. Often men who have undergone cryotherapy experience blood in the urine as well as swelling and pain in the prostrate. Further, men can also develop erectile dysfunction.
Hormonal Therapy involves removing or reducing the male androgen hormones that support the growth of prostate cancer cells. This therapy is often used to treat cancer that has traveled to distant areas of the body or has reappeared after other treatments. The side effects of hormone therapy include loss of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, shrinkage of penis, in addition to anemia, osteoporosis, weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
Chemotherapy is another example of a treatment option used to treat many cancer types. For prostate cancer, chemotherapy is not the most common treatment and may only be provided if other treatments have not worked. Occasionally, chemotherapy will be provided with hormone therapy or immediately after surgery. The side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, sores in mouth, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and bruising.
Unlike most other cancers, prostate cancer has a vaccine which can help stimulate the body’s immune system to fight and kill the cancer tissue. This vaccine is only provided to patients with advanced cancer that has stopped responding to other therapies. Often the vaccine treatment causes less side effects compared to that of other treatment options. However, patients using the vaccine may experience fever, chills, fatigue, pain, headaches, and nausea.
Prostrate cancer that metastasizes is most likely to travel to the bone. Bone-directed treatments include a number of procedures which aim to prevent the cancer from reaching the bones. Doctors generally perform these therapies on patients with actively growing tumors that are beginning to expand outside of the prostate. The side effects of the bone-directed treatments include an increased risk of infection, as well as increased bleeding and decreased blood cell counts.