If you have Prostate Cancer
In the past, prostate cancer tended to be diagnosed when the disease was widespread and treatment options were limited. Today, prostate cancer is typically discovered much earlier, and urologists are able to deliver a wide array of treatments based on a patient's age, health, stage of disease and other personal factors. When prostate cancer is caught in time, cure rates are high. Even with cancer spread or recurrence, there are therapies that can improve survival.
Traditional treatment options include active surveillance ("watchful waiting"), surgery to remove the prostate gland and radiation therapy. Modern surgical techniques involving laparoscopic and robotic surgery are less invasive than traditional surgery. New radiation technology and radioactive seed placement has cut down on side effects. Novel methods of freezing and destroying the prostate without the need for making an incision are also options for some patients. In some cases a combination of approaches are needed.
"With a younger man, we usually recommend removing the prostate gland," says Louis Kavoussi, MD, Chairman. "This is because of the excellent long term data demonstrating the success of surgery. An older man on the other hand, might be a good candidate for observation or radiation therapy. Each type of treatment has its strengths and weaknesses that have to be individualized to the patient."
According to Dr. Kavoussi, if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it's helpful to ask your doctor these four questions:
- What is the grade-or Gleason Score-of my cancer?
- What is the stage of my cancer?
- What is my PSA-the result of a prostate-specific antigen blood test?
- How many of the tissue biopsies were positive?
"The answers to these questions help doctors estimate your risk level, which in turn helps them determine the best course of treatment," says Dr. Kavoussi.
Whatever treatment your urologist recommends, it's good to understand all the available choices as well as the pros and cons of each. Together with your doctor, you can choose the treatment that's best for you-and gives you the most peace of mind in the long run.