If you are experiencing nagging pain in your back and hips, trouble passing urine, painful ejaculation, and weak or uninterrupted urine stream, see your urologist right away, as these are symptoms of prostate cancer.
At Ironwood Urology, Dr. Desi Avila performs ultrasounds and an innovative MRI fusion-guided prostate biopsy to diagnose prostate cancer more effectively. After Dr. Avila confirms that you have prostate cancer, he will refer you to an oncologist with whom you can discuss the risks and benefits of each treatment option to help you make an informed decision.
Radiation therapy is a treatment procedure that involves the use of high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Success rates of approximately 90 percent or even higher can be achieved if radiation therapy is done within the early stages of the disease.
Listed below are some of the side effects associated with exposure to high-energy rays during radiation therapy treatment:
- Bowel problems
- Impotence (Erectile dysfunction, which is more common in men who underwent brachytherapy, a type of radiotherapy)
- Swelling and pain in the legs caused by lymph node damage
- Urinary problems (incontinence or burning sensation)
Your oncologist may also recommend prostatectomy, which is the surgical removal of your prostate gland and its surrounding tissues and lymph nodes (if the cancer has already spread to these areas).
The procedure can be performed as traditional open surgery or in a minimally invasive approach, including robot-assisted surgery, which is associated with less pain, reduced blood loss, and shorter hospital stays.
Surgery is the ideal treatment choice for men with early-stage prostate cancer. Research shows that 88.6 percent of men were still alive 10 years after they had prostatectomy, and 72.7 percent were still alive after 20 years.
- The following are the most common risks associated with this treatment option:
- Changes in orgasm
- Decrease in penis length
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male fertility
- Swelling and pain caused by lymph node damage
Hormone therapy, also referred to as androgen suppression therapy, is aimed at reducing levels of male hormones (androgens) in the body, or at stopping them from further fueling prostate cancer cells. Androgens promote the growth of prostate cancer cells by attaching to a protein in each cancer cell.
Hormone therapy shows an 85 percent to 90 percent effectiveness in shrinking tumors of the prostate gland in advanced stages.
Your oncologist may recommend this treatment method in the following circumstances:
- If the cancer has not yet spread too far to be mitigated by either radiation therapy or surgery
- If the cancer has not been addressed by either surgery or radiation therapy
- If the cancer has recurred
- Prior to radiation therapy (Hormone therapy boosts the efficacy of radiation therapy.)
Side effects associate with low testosterone levels include the following:
- Breast tenderness
- Hot flashes
- Impotence (erectile dysfunction)
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Loss of libido
- Loss of muscle mass
- Shrinkage of penis and testicles
- Weight gain
Chemotherapy is a treatment method that uses chemicals to destroy or halt the growth and spread of cancer cells.
To date, there has been no research evidence that supports the efficacy of chemotherapy in curing or eliminating prostate cancer. Nonetheless, your oncologist may still recommend it for the following purposes:
- To be used after prostate cancer surgery to improve its outcome
- To be used in conjunction with hormone therapy to enhance patient outcome
- To prolong the life of a prostate cancer patient who no longer responds to hormone therapy
- To relieve symptoms associated with the advanced stages of the disease
All chemotherapy drugs tend to work in different ways, making it challenging to predict its exact side effects for each patient.
Listed below are the most common side effects of chemotherapy, according to the American Cancer Society:
- Easy bleeding or bruising (caused by reduced blood platelets)
- Fatigue (caused by reduced red blood cells)
- Hair loss
- Increased risk of infections (caused by reduced white blood cells)
- Mouth sores
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite
First-Rate Prostate Care in Phoenix, AZ
If prostate cancer runs in your family or you think you have other risk factors, it is imperative that you go for regular screenings.
At Ironwood Urology, we believe in the power of early detection. Dr. Desi Avila takes pride in his extensive experience, expertise, and state-of-the-art equipment to accurately diagnose prostate conditions, such as prostate cancer. Early detection significantly increases your chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact Ironwood Urology, serving Phoenix and the nearby Arizona region, to schedule an appointment with Dr. Avila. Call us at 480-961-2323, or you may also fill out our online form. We look forward to becoming your prostate health care partner!