Making Treatment Decisions About Prostate Cancer

Making Treatment Decisions About Prostate Cancer

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer that occur in men. It slowly develops in the prostate gland in its early stages, where the condition may not cause serious harm immediately. However, as time passes, the cancer may continually grow, causing problems with urinating, blood in the semen, bone-related problems, and erectile dysfunction. Because the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, men should discuss getting screenings with their doctor beginning at the age of 40. 

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis of prostate cancer is beneficial mainly because it increases your chances of survival. Once diagnosed, your doctor will present the best treatment options available to you. There are a variety of treatments that are effective in the early stages. Radical prostatectomy, in particular, is ideal for prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the gland.

There are different factors you have to consider when treating your prostate cancer. Your treatment options will depend on the stage of your cancer, as well as your age and overall health. Some of the common treatments are surgery (prostatectomy), radiation therapy, cryosurgery, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Such treatments may initially sound overwhelming, but rest assured, these treatments are safe and effective when administered correctly at the best time. Your treatment plan is something you should openly discuss with your health care providers and family to ensure you are comfortable with it.

Factors to Consider Before Making Treatment Decisions

Below are factors you and your provider should consider before making treatment decisions. 

Stage of Cancer

Consider the urgency of treatment when choosing a method to go with. You don’t have to rush into intense treatments during the early stages of prostate cancer. Consult with your doctor on which treatment will effectively treat you with the least side effects possible. Sometimes, the side effects of a procedure outweigh its benefits.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects

The primary reason to consider all your treatment options before making a decision is the possible side effects. Some methods (like radiotherapy and chemotherapy) used for advanced stages of prostate cancer can have adverse effects on your quality of life. You should not consider these treatments unless necessary and recommended by your doctor.

Some treatments may lead to issues, such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Loss of libido
  • Anemia
  • Rashes
  • Bleeding

While many of these side effects are temporary, not every man with prostate cancer has to experience them. If your cancer is in the early stages, a less severe treatment with less side effects is probably the best way to go.

Other Existing Conditions 

Patients may also have pre-existing health conditions aside from prostate cancer. Make sure to inform your doctor about these conditions and the corresponding medications you take. This will prevent any possible interactions or complications in treatment. 

Age

Some cancer treatments may be too harsh for older adult men. Their bodies might not be able to bear the stress that some treatments may bring. In such cases, doctors may recommend pain or symptom management rather than direct treatments for the prostate cancer

Treatment and Recovery Period

Most patients would love to go back to their old lifestyle right away. In choosing the right cancer treatment for you, remember to consider the recovery time required. Would you have to undergo treatment cycles? Can you go back to your job quickly? Sometimes, you may not have luxury to choose, but if this is an option for you, take advantage of it.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Support

Making treatment decisions about prostate cancer can be overwhelming. Learn to open up about your situation and concerns to your health care providers, family, and friends. You can also find support groups where you can learn about other men’s experiences to help you make your decision. Do not hesitate to seek support from the people around you. 

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in Phoenix, Arizona 

A timely diagnosis for prostate cancer is crucial before you can decide on the appropriate treatment for you. At Ironwood Urology, we are ready to guide you from diagnosis to treatment and help you make an informed decision. Dr. Desiderio Avila, a board-certified urologist, leads our team in providing you with patient-focused care for all your men’s healthcare needs. 

If you have other questions and concerns, you may call our office at (480) 961-2323. You may also use our appointment request form for your convenience. We are looking forward to helping you.