The prostate is a gland which forms part of the male reproductive system. Here are two common ways that medical practitioners treat men who have developed cancer in this area of their body.
Many men who have been diagnosed with this disease choose to have prostate cancer surgery. In most cases, the specific procedure that most men undergo is known as a 'radical prostatectomy'.
During this operation, the surgeon removes the entire prostate. This procedure can be done using open surgery techniques (where the surgeon creates one large incision in the patient's lower abdomen, in order to gain access to and extract the gland) or using laparoscopic methods (where multiple, tiny incisions are made and the prostate is removed using surgical instruments that are inserted into these incisions).
Laparoscopic surgery is far less invasive than open surgery. Because of this, patients who undergo this type of prostate cancer surgery tend to recover far faster than those who have this gland removed via open surgery.
However, whilst laparoscopic surgery is less invasive, it's not the best option for every patient. The method a surgeon chooses to use depends on the patient's general health, age and weight, as well on how aggressive their cancer is.
It is relatively rare for a patient who undergoes prostate cancer surgery to suffer from post-operative complications. However, those that do may experience issues such as groin hernias, an infection at the site of their surgical incisions, blood clots and difficulty passing urine. In most cases, these complications can be treated quite easily.
Radiotherapy is a type of treatment in which high-energy rays are used to kill off cancer cells. This treatment is frequently used in instances where the patient's prostate cancer has not yet metastasised (i.e. when it has not spread to other areas of the body).
A man who undergoes radiotherapy to treat their prostate cancer will usually need to have multiple sessions, over the course of several weeks, before the cancer cells start to die.
Unfortunately, radiotherapy can sometimes harm the healthy cells surrounding the cancerous ones. As such, patients who undergo this treatment can sometimes experience issues with the other organs and tissues that are located close to the prostate. They may, for example, develop inflammation in the lining of their bladder, and suffer from painful urination and diarrhoea.
Radiotherapy can also cause long-term side effects in some men, including permanent urinary incontinence.