Prostate cancer is a slow growing tumor that may be present for years without causing any symptoms. By the time you notice any changes in your health, the cancer may be advanced and require aggressive treatment to remove it completely. If you find yourself with an advanced stage of prostate cancer, here is why more serious treatment is needed and the options available to you.
Localized Versus Metastatic Cancer
In the early stages of prostate cancer, the tumor cells stay within a well-defined area in the prostate gland. Surgical removal of all of the cancerous cells is still possible. High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment is also effective at destroying all of the cells before they have spread.
When the tumor begins to spread its cells beyond the prostate gland, surgery and ultrasound can't get at all of the cells. Advanced prostate cancer treatment must find the cells wherever they have developed in the body and remove them.
As the tumor begins to spread, the cells still remain in and around the prostate gland. Radiation treatment can be used to destroy the tumor and any cancerous cells in the immediate area. Two forms of radiation therapy are done:
Targeted Beam - A beam of radiation is focused on the tumor and the tissue around it. The radiation disrupts the reproductive process of the cells and they eventually die. It normally takes several treatment sessions to completely remove the cancer.
Radioactive Pellets - Tiny pellets about the size of a grain of sand are irradiated and injected into the prostate gland. These pellets destroy any cancer cells in the gland and in the surrounding tissues.
During the period of time in which you receive radiation treatment, you may experience one or more of the following side effects:
- bloody stools
- abdominal cramps
The side effects go away once the treatment stops.
When the cancer cells have spread to other organs, muscles and bones, the targeted treatments won't get all of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy introduces medications into the bloodstream which circulate throughout the body to find the cancer cells and destroy them. Several treatment sessions will be needed until the cancer cells no longer pose a threat. Some of the side effects you may experience with this treatment include:
- appetite loss
- hair loss
These also go away once the chemotherapy treatment has completed.
Early detection of cancer through regular prostate screenings allows you to start treatment before the tumor becomes advanced and spreads to other parts of the body. When treated before it has spread, there is a higher chance that all of the cancer cells will be removed and you'll be out of danger.
For more information, contact a clinic like Unity Urology PC.