Treatment Methods - KLFY News 10

Treatment Methods

Men with prostate cancer have many treatment options. The treatment that is best for one man may not be best for another.

Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy. You may have a combination of treatments. If your doctor recommends watchful waiting, your health will be monitored closely. You will have treatment only if symptoms occur or get worse.

Cancer treatment is either local therapy or systemic therapy:

  • Local therapy: Surgery and radiation therapy are local treatments. They remove or destroy cancer in the prostate. When prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, local therapy may be used to control the disease in those specific areas.
  • Systemic therapy: Hormone therapy is systemic therapy. Hormones are given to control cancer that has spread.
  • The treatment that is right for you depends on the stage of the cancer, the grade of the tumor, your symptoms, and your general health. Your doctor will describe your treatment choices and the expected results.

Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each man, and they may change from one treatment session to the next. NCI's booklet Know Your Options: Understanding Treatment Choices for Prostate Cancer can tell you more about treatments and their side effects.

You should consider both the expected benefits and possible side effects of each treatment option. You may want to discuss with your doctor the possible effects on sexual activity. You can work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that reflects your medical needs and personal values.

At any stage of disease, supportive care is available to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve the side effects of treatment, and to ease emotional concerns. Information about such care is available on NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping and from Information Specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER or LiveHelp.

You may want to talk to your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. The section on "The Promise of Cancer Research" has more information about clinical trials.

You may want to ask your doctor these questions before your treatment begins:

  • What is the stage of the disease? Do any lymph nodes show signs of cancer? Has the cancer spread?
  • What is the grade of the tumor?
  • What is the goal of treatment? What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me? Why?
  • What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? How can side effects be managed?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
  • How will treatment affect my normal activities? Will it affect my sex life? Will I have urinary problems? Will I have bowel problems?
  • What will the treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it?
Would a clinical trial (research study) be appropriate for me?
  
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