Among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia, prostate cancer accounts for almost 3,500 deaths in the country per year. However, there is a 95 percent chance of surviving a diagnosis of the condition for at least five years given the right sort of treatment. These days, doctors have a range of options available to them. Let's examine all eight.
- Active surveillance is the first treatment. Although no medical procedures are undertaken, active surveillance means regular rectal examinations by a trained medical professional and frequent blood tests for prostate-specific antigens, or PGAs.
- Surgery is another option that doctors may consider following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. These days, robot prostate surgery is used because it involves only minor incisions and provides huge levels of magnification. A robot-assisted prostatectomy is usually conducted under a general anaesthetic but is always under the control of a trained surgeon.
- Radiation therapy tends to be a preferred method of treating a prostate cancer that is considered to be low grade. Brachytherapy, or internal radiation, as well as external beam radiation, are used. The first of these two involves placing small pellets directly onto a prostate gland. The latter procedure usually means attending hospital as an outpatient on a number of consecutive occasions.
- Cryotherapy is another option for prostate cancer. The idea is simple: to freeze cancer cells using very low temperatures. Hollow probes are inserted into the body until they reach the affected region. After this, an extremely cold gas is passed down the probes which destroys the cancerous tissue. The doctor doing the work can monitor what is going on using ultrasound techniques.
- Hormone therapy is sometimes used to lower the level of androgens in the body. By doing so, it will either stop them from impacting on the prostate's cancer cells or reduce the amount they do so. Because androgens are known to cause prostate cancer cells to grow, this procedure prevents the build up of cancers.
- Chemotherapy is a well-known technique for handling a wide range of cancers and can be used for prostate cancer, too. It tends to be chosen when hormone therapies have been unsuccessful. Docetaxel, cabazitaxel, Novantrone and estramustine are all drugs which might be administered as part of a chemotherapy programme.
- Vaccine treatments are also used to help prostate cancer sufferers. The principal is to boost the body's natural defence system—its immune system—to help it destroy cancer cells more successfully than it would otherwise be able to do.
- Bone-directed treatment is a treatment that is chosen when a prostate cancer is spreading, or is likely to spread, to other parts of the body. A bisphosphonate drug, such as zoledronic acid, tends to be preferred for handling prostate cancer.