What Happens To The Prostate After Radiation
The prostate gland will end up having a lot of scar tissue. It will shrink in size to about half its original weight within a couple years after finishing radiation. The urethra passes through the canter of the prostate gland like the hole of a doughnut. Sometimes this passage can widen, other times it can shrink after radiation. In summary, the prostate gland is heavily damaged from radiation and does not work normally afterwards.
Treatments To Help Manage Symptoms
Treatments to help manage symptoms caused by advanced prostate cancer include:
- pain-relieving drugs
- complementary therapies
There are lots of different types of pain-relieving drugs, such as tablets, patches and injections. Your doctor or palliative care nurse will help you find whats best for you.
Some men worry about becoming addicted to pain-relieving drugs. But this is uncommon in men with prostate cancer. Read more about managing pain in advanced prostate cancer.
Radiotherapy can help control symptoms by slowing down the growth of the cancer. Radiotherapy to help control symptoms is sometimes called palliative radiotherapy.
The most common type of radiotherapy used to reduce symptoms is external beam radiotherapy. This is high-energy X-ray beams targeted at the area being treated from outside the body. It can help to manage symptoms such as pain, blood in your urine or discomfort from swollen lymph nodes. Its also used to treat metastatic spinal cord compression.
You might have slightly more pain during treatment, and for a few days afterwards, but this should soon get better. It can take a few weeks for radiotherapy to have its full effect.
If your prostate cancer is causing bone pain, you may be offered radium-223 to help reduce the pain and delay some other symptoms.
Read more about radiotherapy for advanced prostate cancer.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer
About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments and some men dont need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.
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It Can Be Alarming To See Blood In The Toilet Or When Wiping After A Bowel Movement But In Most Cases It Isn’t A Sign Of A Life
Finding blood in your stool can be an incredibly frightening experience, and it is likely more common than we know. Bloody stool can indicate something minimal, such as a hemorrhoid, or something much more worrisome, such as an inflammatory bowel disease or even cancer.
If youre stumbling upon this article, you may have already read that different colors and presentations of blood can indicate different conditions. This is truesometimes, according to gastroenterologist Dr. Donald McMahon.
Bright red blood typically comes from a source lower down in the gastrointestinal tract and can point to hemorrhoids, fissures, colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, or a Crohns disease flare, Dr. McMahon states.
Black and tar-like blood usually comes from higher up, such as in the esophagus or the stomach, and often points to ulcers, Dr. McMahon adds. He says that some sources suggest that the consumption of certain foodssuch as blueberries or cranberriesas well as certain medications, can also mimic a blood-like color.
The bottom line is there are countless causes for GI/rectal bleeding, says Dr. McMahon. If you see any blood in your stool, you should seek a medical opinion as soon as possible.* You shouldnt just assume youre okay when you could have something serious going on.
Knowing the warning signs of colon cancer
The next time you experience rectal bleedingor any suspicious GI symptoms, for that matterDr. McMahon says to keep these three things in mind:
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called the stage of the cancer. You may have heard other people say that their cancer was stage 1 or stage 2. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what types of treatment might be best for you.
The stage is based on the growth or spread of the cancer through the prostate, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. It also includes your blood PSA level and the grade of the cancer. The prostate cancer cells are given a grade, based on how they look under a microscope. Those that look very different from normal cells are given a higher grade and are likely to grow faster. The grade of your cancer might be given as a Gleason score or a Grade Group . Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer. The grade also can helpdecide which treatments might be best for you.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
If your cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, it might also be given a risk group. The risk group is based on the extent of the cancer in the prostate, your PSA level, and the results of the prostate biopsy. The risk group can help tell if other tests should be done, and what the best treatment options might be.
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Questions To Ask The Doctor
- What treatment do you think is best for me?
- Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
- Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
- What will the surgery be like?
- Will I need other types of treatment, too?
- Whats the goal of these treatments?
- What side effects could I have from these treatments?
- What can I do about side effects that I might have?
- Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
- What about special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
- How soon do I need to start treatment?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
- Whats the next step?
What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Prostate Cancer
Because prostate cancer tends to grow slowly, most men die from something other than the disease. Early detection is key to better outcomes. Almost all men 97% to 98% diagnosed with localized cancer that hasnt spread outside of the prostate live at least five years after diagnosis. When metastatic cancer has spread outside of the gland, one-third of men continue to survive after five years.
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How To Manage Bowel Changes
- Ask your doctor about suitable medicines for diarrhoea. Take as directed.
- Check with your treatment team before taking any over-the-counter or home remedies, as taking them with anti-diarrhoea medicines may cause unwanted effects.
- Drink peppermint or chamomile tea to reduce abdominal or wind pain.
- Eat or drink as well as you can to give your body the nutrients it needs.
- Do some gentle exercise, such as walking, to encourage healthy bowel movements. Check with your doctor about the amount and type of exercise that is right for you.
- Avoid alcohol and cut down on coffee, cola and other drinks that contain caffeine.
- Drink plenty of clear liquids when you first notice symptoms of diarrhoea. This helps to avoid dehydration and replaces fluids lost through diarrhoea. Try apple juice, weak tea, clear broth, sports drinks and electrolyte-replacing fluids. It may also be worth trying a lactose-free milk.
- Choose plain foods that are low in insoluble fibre . Talk to your dietitian about what else you can eat.
- If you have diarrhoea, avoid high-fibre, fatty or fried foods pulses garlic and onion and rich sauces and gravies, as these can make diarrhoea worse.
- Contact your treatment team immediately if there is blood in your bowel motions or if you have more than 56 bowel movements in 24 hours.
I had diarrhoea for a few weeks but it improved with medication.
What Screening Tests Are Used For Bladder Cancer
It is not standard to screen for bladder cancer. Bladder cancer screening may be used in people who are considered high risk. If you have a history of bladder cancer, a history of a birth defect of the bladder, or have been exposed to certain chemicals at work, you may be considered high-risk. You should ask your provider if screening tests are right for you.
Testing the urine for blood, abnormal cells, and tumor markers can help find some bladder cancers early but the results vary. Not all bladder cancers are found, and some people may have changes in their urine but do not have bladder cancer. These tests can be used in those who already have signs of bladder cancer or if the cancer has returned. However, more research is needed to determine how useful testing the urine is as a screening test.
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Outcome After Five Visits To The Clinic
- Nausea resolved with promotility regimen and the use of intermittent sucralfate suspension.
- Vomiting now infrequent
- No retrosternal pain when eating
- Early satiety managed with smaller, more frequent meals
- Bowel frequency: 12×/day
- Symptoms of early dumping only occurring when eating larger meal portions
- Weight increasing
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What Happens If My Cancer Starts To Grow Again
Your first treatment may help keep your cancer under control. But over time, the cancer may change and it may start to grow again.
You will usually stay on your first type of hormone therapy, even if its not working so well. This is because it will still help to keep the amount of testosterone in your body low. But there are other treatments that you can have alongside your usual treatment, to help control the cancer and manage any symptoms. Other treatments include:
Which treatments are suitable for me?
Which treatments are suitable for you will depend on many things, including your general health, how your cancer responds to treatment, and which treatments youve already had. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your own situation, or speak to our Specialist Nurses.
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Other Professionals Who Can Help
Your doctor, nurse or GP can refer you to these professionals.
- Physiotherapists can help with mobility and provide exercises to help improve fitness or ease pain. This can help you stay independent for longer.
- Counsellors, psychologists or psychotherapists can help you and your family work through any difficult feelings and find ways of coping. Many hospitals have counsellors or psychologists who specialise in helping people with cancer. You can also get free counselling on the NHS without a referral from your GP. Visit nhs.uk/counselling to find out more.
- Dietitians can give you advice about healthy eating, which might help with fatigue and staying a healthy weight. They can also help if you are losing weight or having problems eating.
- Occupational therapists can provide advice and access to equipment and adaptations to help with daily life. For example, help with dressing, eating, bathing or using the stairs.
- Social services, including social workers, can provide practical and financial advice and access to emotional support. They can give you advice about practical issues such as arranging for someone to support you at home. Whats available varies from place to place. Your GP, hospital doctor or nurse might be able to refer you to some services. The telephone number for your local social service department will be in the phonebook under the name of your local authority, on their website and at the town hall.
What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer And Bone Metastases
When cancer cells spread to the bones, the condition weakens the very frame on which the body rests. The cells interfere with the strength and hardness of the bones structure, interrupting its normal cycle of building up and dissolving.
Theres no cure for advanced prostate cancer, but theres a lot that doctors can do to help with the symptoms that might develop. This includes managing pain. A common misconception is that if theres cancer in the bone, there must be pain, Tagawa says. Thats not true. Cancer can be in the bone without pain. However, if there is pain, he says, it can be controlled with anticancer therapies and pain medication, and good quality of life can be maintained.
In addition to pain, some men with bone metastases develop a condition called hypercalcemia, in which, because of the damage to bones from the cancer cells, too much calcium builds up in the blood. Hypercalcemia can make you feel constipated, thirsty, sleepy, or sluggish, and it can increase the urge to urinate, according to the ACS. Over time, hypercalcemia can cause muscle and joint achiness, as well as weakness in the muscles. In advanced stages, it can cause the kidneys to shut down.
There are treatments for hypercalcemia as well as for other complications from advanced prostate cancer, such as bones that become weak and break or fracture, and for growths in the spine that can press on the spinal cord and damage nerves.
Prostate Cancer: Dr Hilary Outlines Signs And Symptoms
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Cancer represents a scary prospect however, being able to spot the symptoms could lead to a prompt diagnosis. While the signs of prostate cancer dont usually appear until the disease is large enough, there are some symptoms to be aware of.
Side Effects Of External Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy to the prostate can cause some side effects, such as loose or watery poo and passing wee more often.
Side effects tend to start a week or 2 after the radiotherapy begins. They gradually get worse during the treatment and for a couple of weeks after the treatment ends. But they usually begin to improve after around 2 weeks or so.
These side effects vary from person to person. You may not have all of the effects mentioned.
Side effects can include:
You might feel tired during your treatment. It tends to get worse as the treatment goes on. You might also feel weak and lack energy. Rest when you need to.
Tiredness can carry on for some weeks after the treatment has ended but it usually improves gradually.
Various things can help you to reduce tiredness and cope with it, such as exercise. Some research has shown that taking gentle exercise can give you more energy. Its important to balance exercise with resting.
Your skin in the treatment area might get sore, or redden or darken. Following these tips can help with this:
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Common Symptoms For These People *:
* Approximation only. Some reports may have incomplete information.
Managing Bone Pain And Weakness
Symptoms like nausea, hot flashes, and pain can usually be relieved with medication. Some people find that complimentary treatments like acupuncture or massage help manage side effects.
Your doctor may also recommend orthopedic surgery to stabilize your bones, relieve pain, and help prevent bone fractures.
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Focal Therapy For Prostate Cancer
With recent advances in MRI and targeted biopsy, we are better able to locate the exact area of prostate cancer. Men who do not have an enlarged prostate, who have prostate cancer that is detected only in a single region of the prostate and have intermediate grade cancer can be a candidate for focal therapy. This type of therapy treats only the cancerous tissue and spares the normal prostate, thereby preserving urinary and sexual function
Here at UCLA we commonly use cryotherapy or HIFU to focally treat prostate cancer. Given that this is a relatively new form of treatment, we have established rigorous post-treatment protocols using MRI and biopsies to ensure that the cancer has been adequately treated.
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An Approach To Nausea And Vomiting
Chronic nausea and vomiting are not uncommon in the general population and a careful history and examination are required to eliminate common medical causes. In the cancer patient, disease recurrence must be considered. Small bowel bacterial overgrowth, gastric bile reflux or acid reflux are frequent benign causes of nausea, vomiting and retching after cancer treatment.13 Metabolic causes such as hyperglycaemia, hypercalcaemia, renal impairment, and Addisons disease need to be excluded. Gastroparesis and slow upper GI transit can exacerbate symptoms. Oesophageal motility disorders such as diffuse oesophageal spasm or ineffective motility can develop. Oesophageal strictures are another important cause.12
After oesophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction, symptoms of reflux and nausea are often accompanied by early satiety, absence of hunger, inhibited passage of food due to high viscosity and impaired gastric emptying and postprandial dumping.4748 The surgical procedure itself can still influence nutritional aspects and lead to altered stool frequency for prolonged periods after surgery, so patients frequently struggle to maintain their body weight.48
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