A prostate cancer diagnosis can be absolutely devastating for patients and their loved ones. Even though the initial diagnosis can come as a shock, it’s important to remember not to lose hope. Thanks to advances in medicine and technology, prostate cancer is highly treatable. The prognosis is good if it is detected early, and side effects from treatment are often minimal. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you’ve probably begun exploring the different treatment options available to you. Here’s a brief overview of some non-invasive and surgical options.
Many prostate cancer patients decide to undergo external beam radiation therapy (ERBT) or brachytherapy. Both types of treatment are non-surgical options that allow patients to continue their daily activities without worrying about a long recovery period. There are a couple major differences between ERBT and brachytherapy treatments. Typically, the external beam radiation therapy course involves 6-8 weeks of daily treatments. Possible side effects include serious fatigue, erectile dysfunction, intestinal issues, and bladder irritation. Most of these side effects decrease over time, but some may persist depending on how a patient’s body reacts to the treatment.
With brachytherapy, patients undergo an outpatient procedure. Small seeds of radiation are placed within the affected prostate tissue. Success rates for this type of treatment are high and side effects tend to occur less frequently with brachytherapy than with external beam radiation. If you’re considering radiation therapy, talk to your doctor about which option would be best for you.
One of the more aggressive treatment options available is a surgical procedure called a radical prostatectomy. This procedure is invasive and requires hospitalization, but it is also proven to be highly effective at eliminating prostate cancer. Patients who choose to have a radical prostatectomy have a longer recovery time than those undergoing radiation therapies. Typical recovery time after surgery is a month or longer. Possible side effects of radical prostatectomy surgeries may include incontinence and erectile dysfunction. These side effects generally decrease over time.
Alternative Non-invasive treatments
In recent years, a few alternative non-invasive options have been approved for the treatment of prostate cancer. One of the most effective options is called CyberKnife. This cutting edge procedure is non-surgical, and involves administering a targeted dose of radiation with the help of 3-D imaging technology. Since the radiation administered is so precisely targeted, effective treatment options available minimal risk of damaging healthy tissue and less risk of side effects for patients. The recovery period is also shorter because CyberKnife is completely non-invasive. Treatment can be completed in five sessions over the course of two weeks. Patients rarely experience the fatigue associated with traditional radiation treatments after the CyberKnife treatment course is complete.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important to realize that there are several effective treatment options available to you. Traditional radiation therapies like ERBT and brachytherapy, radical prostatectomy, and alternative radiation therapies like CyberKnife can help you conquer cancer and get back to living your life to the fullest. Take the time to weigh your options and talk with your doctor about which course of treatment is the right one for you.