Skip to main content

Prostate Cancer Treatments: What Options Do You Have?

By: Harry Southworth

The word ‘cancer’ does not bring a smile to anyone’s face. Rather, most people view it as an immediate death sentence, the gravest of prognoses. The good news is that every day, mankind is getting closer to more effective treatment options, which brings us closer to permanent cures for different types of tumors.

Prostate malignancy affects one in every seven men, and the rates are said to be headed for a rise. With the proper diagnostic knowledge, men can get diagnosed earlier, in order to improve their quality of life.

Real-Life Case

Mr. Shupert, 64, was a retired school teacher who was working  as an essay writer at among his peers. He went to the doctor because of his sudden loss of appetite. His physical exam revealed nothing, although Mr. Shupert told the doctor that he sometimes felt a sharp, throbbing pain when urinating. His family history was clear of any neoplastic diseases, and his laboratory results showed no signs of inflammation. His red blood cells were a little below normal, but the patient said it was likely due to stress. He had worked the weekend before building a hen house for his wife’s poultry.

Taking into account his descent (he is African-American) and pain complaint, the doctor did a biopsy of his prostate. Results revealed an in situ adenocarcinoma, a glandular tumor. An operation was carried out to remove the gland, followed by a round of chemotherapy to kill off any metastasized cells. The patient was discharged in a healthy condition. Medical check-ups twice a year reveal absence of any abnormal cells.


Prostate cancer is a disease characterized by abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland.  The prostate gland is responsible for secreting essential parts of seminal fluid. It is a two-lobed organ located on either side of the urethra. Abnormal cells grow and outnumber normal cells, causing cell death and reduced functionality. They may even spread to nearby organs. This is why any changes in the prostate directly affect passage of urine in males and possibly sexual function. All men are advised to see their local physicians in the event of noticing any symptom that can be a cancer sign.

The general prostate cancer symptoms aren’t very different from other cancer symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight

There are some “relatively” specific prostate malignancy symptoms. They are considered relatively specific because they can lead to differential diagnoses for other organ abnormalities. These include:

  • Painful urination/ejaculation.
  • Decreased sexual performance
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty in passing urine

Treatment Options

After a biopsy result has confirmed the presence of abnormal cells, it is of utmost importance to immediately consider treatment options. The choice of treatment largely depends on the stage of progression of the cancer. Other factors that need to be considered include:

  • The age of the patient
  • Presence of underlying conditions that may pose as contraindications to certain treatment options
  • Genetic factor
  • Presence of other risk factors that might affect treatment (lifestyle, diet)

The following options, including others, are available for prostate cancer treatment:


  • Prostatectomy


This deals with the removal of some or all parts of the prostate gland. It is an excellent choice for in situ cancers, i.e. neoplastic cells that haven’t spread to any other organ. Low-risk prostate tumors can be treated by removing part of the organ (subtotal prostatectomy) while for high-risk malignancies, the total removal of the gland is mostly advised.


  • Internal Radiation Therapy


Also known as brachytherapy, it involves placing a sealed radioactive material close to or inside the area of the body that needs treatment. It is one of the more effective treatment options for prostate malignant tumors. There are two forms of IRT, short-term and long-term. In short-term IRT, the radioactive material is administered via a central line for a period of time, then withdrawn. For long-term IRT, however, radioactive seeds are implanted in the patient close to the tumor site and left there for life. Radioactivity of the seeds diminishes to nothing overtime.


  • Chemotherapy


Chemotherapy involves the use of a combination of highly specific drugs to combat the neoplastic disease. Drugs are administered in accordance with certain regimens and can be used for curative purposes (in non-aggressive prostate cancer) or reduction of symptoms (in aggressive or metastasized cancer), also called palliative method.

There are a lot of other options for male patients, but thanks to the constant cancer research, new methods to detect cancer earlier are being developed every day.  This should be viewed as a big step towards the improvement of the quality of life for the patients.


Leave a Reply