The prostate is a male reproductive system gland located directly in front of the rectum and below the bladder. Cancer causes prostate cells to multiply and grow uncontrollably, wreaking havoc with the prostate’s normal activities, and damages all the surrounding tissues. This article will discuss 5 different treatment options for prostate cancer - traditional surgery, robotic surgery (the da Vinci Surgical System), standard radiation therapy, a combination of hormone therapy and radiation, and a newer, more precise type of radiation therapy known as proton therapy. Early detection is critical. Although prostate cancer is high on the list of causes of cancer death for US men (ranking second), there’s a 5 year survival rate if detected early of almost 99 percent.
Top 5 Prostate Cancer Treatment Options:
- Robotic surgery (the da Vinci Surgical System)
- Radiation therapy
- Combination of hormone therapy
- Radiation proton therapy
Prostate cancer surgery includes either partial or complete removal of the prostate. A prostatectomy is currently not the most chosen method of treatment, since it comes with a higher likelihood of urinary, as well as sexual, side effects.
- Partial or complete removal of the prostate
- Currently not the most chosen method of treatment
- Treatment comes with higher likelihood of urinary and sexual side effects
Robotic surgery (the da Vinci Surgical System)
The da Vinci Surgical System offers an alternative to open surgery that is minimally invasive. It only requires several small incisions, and it can provide greater control, precision, and vision for the surgeon. The surgeon operates from a seated position, viewing a high-definition, magnified 3D view of the targeted area. Robotic surgery is quickly becoming the optimal choice for urologic surgical procedures. Recovery time is quicker, and a patient could potentially experience less pain, less blood loss, less scarring, a lower risk of complications or infection, and a quicker return to normal activities, such as urinary continence and sexual function.
- Offers an alternative to open surgery that is minimally invasive
- Surgeon operates from a seated position, viewing a high-definition, magnified 3D view of the targeted area
- Recovery time is quicker, and a patient could potentially experience less pain, less blood loss, and less scarring
Radiation therapy is used as a first treatment if the cancer is low grade and resides only in the prostate gland. It can also be combined with hormone therapy if the cancer has spread into nearby tissues outside the prostate gland. There are 2 basic types of radiation therapy used - internal radiation (brachytherapy) or external beam radiation. EBRT (external beam radiation therapy) uses radiation beams from a machine placed outside the body. The patient might be fitted with a body cast-like plastic mold so that they’re kept in the identical position every day so that radiation beams are more accurate. Patients are usually treated 5 days a week, most often in an outpatient center. Other types of radiation include 3D-CRT (three-dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy), IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy) and SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy).
- Used as a first treatment if the cancer is low grade and resides only in the prostate gland
- Internal radiation (brachytherapy) or external beam radiation are 2 basic types
- Other types of radiation include 3D-CRT, IMRT, and SBRT
Combination of hormone therapy and radiation
Hormone therapy used for prostate cancer takes away the male hormones inside cancer cells that they need to grow. The use of hormone therapy, followed by radiation, can shrink advanced tumors containing prostate cancer. The hormones used frequently are a combination of 2 or more drugs which can lower the level of hormones and testosterone that are fueling the disease.
- Hormone therapy takes away male hormones inside cancer cells
- Hormone therapy followed by radiation can shrink advanced tumors
- Combination of 2 or more drugs can lower hormone and testosterone levels
Cancer Centers have been treating patients who have prostate cancer with proton therapy since 2006. Proton therapy delivers an accurate, precise dose of high radiation (only 2 beam angles) to kill the prostate’s cancerous cells. Proton therapy is less invasive than other treatments, requires no downtime, and is painless. There is minimal impact to vital organs such as the rectum and bladder, and to healthy surrounding tissues, and can be provided in an outpatient setting.
- Proton therapy delivers precise dose of high radiation
- Less invasive
- Minimal impact to vital organs