Prostate Cancer Treatment
The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is responsible for the fluid that transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It is generally a slow-growing disease and remains isolated in the prostate where its effects are not very harmful. In some cases, however, prostate cancer can be more aggressive, requiring swift treatment. For these reasons the Beverly Hills Cancer Center has created an excellent program for prostate cancer treatment at our private Los Angeles center.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
Some primary symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Decreased force in urinary stream
- Bloody urine
- Bloody semen
- Pain in lower back, hips or thighs
- Discomfort in the pelvis
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
Should any symptoms arise that are concerning, it may be wise to make an appointment with a doctor so that the cause of symptoms may be diagnosed.
Testing and diagnosis
In the testing process for prostate cancer, a doctor may perform the following examinations:
Digital rectal exam, or DRE. This is a fairly mild exam in which the prostate cancer doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate. This is done to detect any flaw in the size, shape or texture of the prostate.
A prostate-specific antigen test is done by drawing a blood sample from the arm. It is then analyzed for PSA which is a substance produced by the prostate. If an above-average amount of PSA is found in the blood, it may be an indication of a defect in the prostate.
While these exams can detect an abnormality in the prostate, they do not conclusively determine if prostate cancer is present. Further tests in the full diagnosis of prostate cancer include:
- An ultrasound, in which a probe is inserted into the rectum to capture an image of the prostate.
- A prostate biopsy can be effective in the examination for prostate cancer. A sample of prostate tissue is collected and examined in a laboratory.
Because prostate cancer can be fairly idle, more tests can be done to determine the aggressiveness of the disease. This can be done with the biopsy already obtained. The cancer cells are compared with healthy prostate cells to reach a conclusion regarding how quickly the disease is spreading.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatment for prostate cancer depends upon the nature and severity of the disease. In some cases, when the cancer is particularly indolent, immediate treatment may not be necessary. In this case, periodic checkups are sufficient to monitor the progression of the disease.
Should prostate cancer require treatment, the options include:
Radiation therapy can be applied externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy) by a prostate cancer doctor. With external beam radiation, a machine uses focused energy to accurately target the cancerous tissue in the prostate. With internal radiation therapy, a radiation-emitting device is placed within the body near the prostate. In the case of prostate cancer, the “device” inserted is actually several small seeds. These are inserted with a needle. The seeds eventually stop emitting radiation and do not require removal.
Hormone therapy can be an effective treatment option to stop prostate cancer cells from producing. It has been found that cancer cells within the prostate require testosterone to grow, and there are several techniques to cut the supply of testosterone to the prostate. These can be discussed thoroughly with a prostate cancer doctor before any treatment is performed.
Surgical removal of the prostate, or radical prostatectomy, is possible using several types of surgical techniques. In this procedure, the prostate and some surrounding healthy tissue is completely removed from the body to thoroughly stop any metastasis of the cancerous tissue. As with hormone therapy, there are several surgical options and they can be discussed with the doctor to ensure the correct one is chosen.
Cryosurgery, or freezing the prostate tissue to kill cancer cells, has been found to be an effective option in the treatment of prostate cancer. In this procedure, cold gas is placed in a needle and inserted into the prostate. This causes the tissue to freeze. Warm gas is then inserted to reheat the tissue. This sequence of freezing and thawing eliminates cancer cells in the prostate. This technique has become developed to eliminate previous side effects associated with it and is one of the methods we use in our endeavor to deliver the best prostate cancer treatment Los Angeles has available.
Heating prostate tissue is sometimes used with the use of ultrasound technology. High focus ultrasound treatment applies sound waves to heat the prostate tissue, which kills cancerous cells. This is done by inserting an ultrasound probe in the rectum. This procedure is currently available only as a clinical trial in the US.
Chemotherapy applies drugs to the cancerous cells through an intravenous procedure. It may also be taken orally in the form of a pill. Chemotherapy often uses a combination of drugs that will be most effective in eliminating prostate cancer. There have been recent developments in drugs that handle metastatic, aggressive prostate cancer.
Immunotherapy is a technique developed to treat recurring prostate cancer. This uses your own immune cells to fight the cancer by engineering them to have more strength against the cancer. There have been many cases that have responded to this form of treatment, but it is still in its developmental stages.
Here are the Beverly Hills Cancer Center we have highly experienced doctors who will work with you to provide a customized plan to provide you with the best prostate cancer treatment Los Angeles has available.
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To schedule an appointment, please call Beverly Hills Cancer Center in Beverly Hills, California at (877) 320-5131 or use our interactive Online Appointment Request Form.