FACTS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated one in every six men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. While common, this cancer
is very manageable with professional treatment and often curable. With proper care, more than 99 percent of men that have developed prostate
cancer will live more than five years after they are diagnosed.
To learn more about prostate cancer, click on the links below for more information about the symptoms, treatments, and more.
Learn more about Prostate Cancer:
- Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
- Treating Prostate Cancer
- External Beam Radiation Therapy
- Prostate Brachytherapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Potential Side Effects
- Prostate Cancer Resources
What Are The Most Common Prostate Cancer Symptoms?
Because the prostate gland is close to the bladder and urethra, a tumor located on the gland can produce urinary symptoms. Common signs of prostate cancer, related to urinary problems include:
- Overall difficulty urinating, that is accompanied by burning or pain
- Loss of bladder control, or inability to control the flow of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Urges to urinate at night
If the cancer has spread to other tissues or bones, other prostate cancer symptoms may arise, such as:
- Overall difficulty getting an erection
- Swelling or pain in the legs or pelvic area
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the semen
It’s important to keep in mind that these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions besides prostate cancer. Visit your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
You can also view our Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer blog for more information.
How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?
If prostate cancer is diagnosed, it requires a multi-specialty approach to create a treatment plan. Your treatment team will likely include a professional radiation oncologist - a cancer doctor who specializes in treating disease with radiation therapy, a urologist - a surgeon who specializes in the genital and urinary systems, and a medical oncologist - a cancer doctor who specializes in treating cancer with chemotherapy. These specialists will work together to create a personalized treatment plan for you.
There are many different types of treatments available for prostate cancer, including radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other options. It is possible for treatment methods to be combined. For more information about these treatment methods, and which ones you can expect to be part of your treatment plan, ask you doctor.
External Beam Radiation Therapy (RADIOTHERAPY)
External beam radiation therapy is a painless procedure that uses focused rays of radiation on the prostate, attacking and killing cancer cells while preserving healthy surrounding tissue. The radiation is usually delivered in the form of concentrated x-rays or proton beams. The frequency of treatment and dosage varies, but generally higher doses have a greater chance of improving cure rates of prostate cancer. Treatment is typically administered in five day periods over the course of several weeks, with small breaks between to allow your body’s healthy cells to repair themselves. The overall length of treatment varies on a case-to-case basis. Ask your doctor about the dosage that you will be receiving, and what the frequency of your treatment will be.
The process of receiving radiotherapy starts out with a series of scans to map out the treatment area. This will help to ensure the accuracy of the radiation beams during treatment and minimize the amount of healthy tissue that will be affected. Sometimes your treatment plan will include not only the prostate, but the seminal vesicles (glands on the back of the prostate) and lymph nodes. Ask your doctor to explain what treatment area is appropriate for you.
Brachytherapy treats the prostate cancer internally through a minimally invasive procedure that delivers radiation directly to the cancer cells
over time. Surgery is required to perform prostate brachytherapy and is usually done as an outpatient procedure.
Brachytherapy is typically administered as either low-dose or high-dose rates, depending on an individual’s overall health and stage of cancer. Low-dose treatment can leave the radioactive material in the prostate for several months, while high-dose treatment can be as short as two days. Ask your radiation oncologist or oncology nurse for instructions about radiation safety and exposure for family members or pets. After treatment is complete, your radiation oncologist will remove the material from your body.
It is possible for brachytherapy to be used alone, or in combination with external beam radiation therapy and hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer. Ask your doctor about what your brachytherapy will entail, and if you will be receiving other treatments as well.
Hormone therapy is a treatment that lowers the production of testosterone in the body, since it can affect the rate of progression of prostate cancer. Hormone therapy may shrink the tumor, and can be used before and after radiation treatment to treat prostate cancer. Hormone therapy can be provided by your radiation oncologist, medical oncologist or urologist.
To learn more about the different types of radiation treatment, visit our Types of Radiation Therapy page.
What are the Potential Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment?
The development of side effects during treatment varies for each individual, with some cases exhibiting no side effects. External beam radiation
therapy is noninvasive, so side effects are rare. The typical side effects of brachytherapy include swelling, soreness and frequent urination
just after the procedure. Side effects of hormone therapy may include hot flashes, mild breast tenderness, diarrhea, nausea and tiredness.
The length of time you will receive hormone therapy depends on your cancer. Ask your doctor for more information.
If you do develop any side effects during your prostate cancer treatment, they can usually be controlled with medications and changes to your diet. Ask your doctor or nurse whether you should make any changes in your diet to combat any potential side effects, and tell them if you experience any discomfort so they can help you feel better.
Contact Northeastern Nevada Cancer Treatment Center!
At Northeastern Radiation Oncology Center, we are committed to providing only the best in care, with professional radiation therapy that’s close to home and a medical staff that puts the care and comfort of our patients first. If you have any questions about treatment for prostate cancer and radiation therapy, contact us and we’ll get you the information you need.
PROSTATE CANCER RESOURCES
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Us TOO! Prostate Cancer Education and Support
ZERO - Project to End Prostate Cancer
Also see Helpful Links
Download some helpful brochures from www.rtanswers.org
*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.