What Every Man Needs To Know About Prostate Cancer Treatment

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If you've been hesitant about having a prostate cancer screening because it may come back positive, then you need to become familiar with the treatment options. Diagnosing the cancer in the early stages and starting treatment gives you better odds of getting rid of the cancer completely. The longer you wait to have a cancer screening, the more difficult it will be to beat the cancer before it causes health problems. Here are some of the current treatments available for prostate cancer.

Active Surveillance

Prostate cancer grows very slowly. The tumor starts out very small, and the cancer cells take a long time to spread. If you are diagnosed with this cancer early in its life cycle, it could be years before it impacts your health. For this reason, your doctor may suggest this "wait and see" approach to your cancer.

You will have regular checkups where your doctor will measure the progress of the tumor. When the tumor reaches the size where it can cause health issues, your doctor will recommend one of the other treatments. Delaying treatment also means avoiding the side effects that come with each of the other treatment options.


Removal of the tumor requires taking out part or all of the prostate gland, depending on how early the tumor was detected in its life cycle. In advanced stages, the cancer cells begin to spread outside of the tumor and may be found in the tissues surrounding it. For the surgery to be effective, this tissue must also be removed. This can cause a few side effects, such as:

  • urine leaking
  • erectile dysfunction

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

This technique uses a small probe to send ultrasonic waves into the tumor. This heats up the cancer cells and destroys them. This treatment is used on smaller tumors that show no sign of spreading to other tissues. Some of the side effects of this procedure include:

  • scar tissue in the prostate
  • higher risk of infection in the prostate
  • leaking of urine
  • erectile dysfunction

Radiation Therapy

As the tumor matures, the cancer cells spread beyond the tumor into other tissues. Radiation therapy is used to target the tumor and the surrounding tissues to kill the cancer cells. Two forms of this treatment are used:

  • a beam of radiation is sent externally to the tumor and tissues surrounding it
  • radioactive pellets are placed in the tumor and surrounding tissues

Some of the common side effects of this treatment include:

  • diarrhea
  • bloody stools
  • burning feeling when urinating
  • erectile dysfunction


In advanced stages of the tumor, the cancer cells will spread outside of the tumor into other organs in the body. Once this has happened, chemotherapy is used to find and kill these cancerous cells. The treatment is done orally or with an injection into the bloodstream. Several sessions will be required until no cancer cells are detected in your body. This treatment also has side effects, but most will go away once the treatment is stopped. The side effects include:

  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • hair loss
  • sores in the mouth
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea