3. Radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer
If the cancer has not spread it’s possible to use radiotherapy treatment. This involves directing high energy waves into the prostate gland to destroy the cancer cells. There are two ways of giving radiotherapy to combat prostate cancer: external beam radiotherapy (although this is used less often than in the past) and internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) which tends to be more accurate. Again, there are some serious side-effects to these cancer treatments, but your doctor will be able to discuss the benefits and drawbacks to each with you in detail.
4. Hormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer
This is a method for controlling the growth of prostate cancer. The male sex hormone testosterone is known to encourage cancer cells to develop so lowering the levels in the body slows down the growth rate, although cancer cells are not actually destroyed. Hormone therapy is used for men who cannot have surgery, or if the cancer has returned and spread to other parts of the body, or as a complement to other cancer treatment, such as before surgery in order to shrink the size of the tumour.
5. Chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer
Although chemotherapy was not widely used in the past in prostate cancer treatment, recent studies with some well-known drugs (mitoxantrone (mitozantrone) and docetaxel (Taxotere)) have shown positive results. This type of cancer treatment is used if hormone therapy is no longer working or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Although unlikely to result in a complete cure, it can slow the growth of the cancer, reducing symptoms and resulting in a better quality of life.
6. Cryotherapy treatment for prostate cancer
This is a technique to insert probes into the prostate through which cold gasses are introduced creating ice balls that destroy the prostate gland. Only suitable for prostate cancer that has not spread, cryotherapy has a similar effect to the surgical removal of the prostate.
8. Ultrasound treatment for prostate cancer
Using a machine that gives off high-intensity, focussed ultrasound, cancer cells within the prostate are targeted and destroyed by heat (caused by the ultrasound waves). Suitable for cancer that has not spread outside the prostate or for cancer that has come back into the prostate after earlier treatment, this technique is still in the early stages of being used so may not be widely available. It has a 90% success rate and other areas of the prostate are not destroyed, although there are some side-effects similar to the side effects of surgery.