How to Treat Early Prostate Cancer
- 1). Discuss with your doctors about the benefits and the risks associated with each treatment option. The treatment choice should depend on your health status, assessment of risk of complications and most importantly, assessment of mortality risk of your prostate cancer. Some prostate cancers are low-risk and remain localized for the rest of your life.
- 2). Choose surgery if you are healthy and want to maximize chance of survival. Surgery of prostate cancer is also known as prostatectomy and will completely remove your prostate gland. The risk of having recurrent cancer after prostatectomy is low, about 15 percent after 15 years. Prostatectomy comes with several potential complications including uncontrollable bladder and erectile dysfunction. The risk of complications increases with age.
- 3). Choose radiation therapy. The most common form of radiation therapy for early prostate cancer is external beam radiation therapy, during which a beam of high intensity X-ray is directed towards the cancer. Radiation therapy typically lasts 6 to 8 weeks, during which you can still maintain normal activities. Radiation therapy also has several complications and safety issues.
- 4). Discuss with your doctor about whether you can delay treatments and participate in a monitoring program. This is often referred to as "active surveillance." If you are 60 to 65 years old with serious conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, or you are 65 and older and have a low-risk prostate cancer, you may want to consider this option.
- 5). Join a clinical trial. This will allow you to gain access to the most advanced treatments of prostate cancers. Currently, several techniques, including cryotherapy, have been hailed as the new treatment for prostate cancer.