After a prostate cancer diagnosis, there can be a lot of information to take in. The path you and your doctor decide to take for treatment depends on certain factors including the stage of the cancer, your age, and your prostate-specific antigen test result, among others.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
You may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer if you are over 65 years old, have a family history of prostate cancer, and if you are African- American.
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
There may be more than one treatment necessary and recommended by your doctor. Common prostate cancer treatments include:
- Radiation therapy. Radiation is often used after surgery when the cancer hasn’t spread outside of the prostate.
- Brachytherapy. This treatment requires radioactive seeds to be placed inside the prostate gland and is often done when the cancer is found early.
- Hormonal therapy. These types of treatments block the effect or creation of testosterone. Because prostate tumors need testosterone to grow, hormonal therapy can prevent further growth of the cancer. Keep in mind that this treatment does not cure the cancer.
- Chemotherapy. Medication is given to help the body’s immune system fight cancer.
- Prostatectomy. A surgical procedure to remove the prostate and surrounding tissue.
Types of Prostatectomy
There are 4 main types of prostatectomy:
- Retropubic Surgery – requires an incision below the belly button to remove the prostate gland, causing as little damage to the nerves and blood vessels as possible.
- Perineal Surgery – a cut is made between the anus and base of the scrotum. This is a smaller incision than the retropubic technique but it is harder to spare nerves or remove lymph nodes.
- Laparoscopic Surgery is when the surgeon makes several small cuts and uses long tools and a video camera to see inside during the procedure.
- Robotic-assisted da Vinci Surgery – the da Vinci surgical system can be used to perform a prostatectomy. da Vinci technology allows your surgeon to make several small cuts as opposed to one larger incision, and the surgeon has a 3D view inside your body. The robotic-assisted surgical device can bend and rotate more than the human hand for better precision and control during the procedure.