Are There Side Effects Of The Combination Approach To Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy
When it comes to early stages of disease, patients very frequently do well with either brachytherapy or external beam radiation. Success rates of around 90% or higher can be achieved with either approach. When the disease is somewhat more advanced based on the PSA level, Gleason score, extent of visible disease on magnetic resonance imaging we have learned over the years that higher doses of radiation are critical to achieving better results. Some evidence, including a large trial, suggests that for patients with intermediate- or high-risk prostate cancer, a combined approach using brachytherapy along with external beam radiation may be best compared to standard dose external beam radiation therapy alone.
How Can I Prevent Prostate Cancer
In individuals not at high risk of prostate cancer, it is recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent future disease. This includes a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Furthermore, speak to your doctor about prostate cancer screening, and seek medical care if you are experiencing prostate-related symptoms. If you have a high risk of prostate cancer, speak to your doctor about early or more frequent screening and preventive measures .
It is now possible to screen for prostate cancer from home using Homed-IQs PSA Blood Test. While not all prostate cancers cause high PSA and it is possible to have high PSA without cancer, PSA testing can be used to detect early-stage prostate cancers and receive follow-up screening and/or diagnosis. Read more here about the test, its risks and benefits, and to decide if it is right for you.
New Guidelines for the detection of prostate cancer MRI instead of tissue samples. . Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/news/2020/new-guidelines-for-the-detection-of-prostate-cancer
NHS website. . Prostate Cancer. nhs.uk. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/living-with/
Prostate cancer Outcomes & ratings. . Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/outcomes/gnc-20515078
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When To Get A Prostate Cancer Screening
A prostate screening can help your doctor find prostate cancer early, but youll need to decide if the benefits of the exam outweigh the risks. Have a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screenings.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that men ages 55 to 69 decide for themselves whether to undergo a prostate-specific antigen screening test, after talking it over with their doctor.
They recommend against screening for men at or above the age of 70.
The American Cancer Society strongly recommends that no one be screened without discussion of the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening.
They give these specific recommendations for the date at which these discussions with a healthcare provider should take place:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age .
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk .
You should also speak with your doctor about a prostate exam if youre experiencing symptoms of a prostate problem, such as frequent or painful urination or blood in your urine.
After this discussion, if you decide to get a prostate cancer screening, the ACS and the American Urologic Association recommend getting a prostate-specific antigen blood test.
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What Is A Prostate Cancer Screening Like
A prostate cancer screening can be conducted in one of two ways. The first, a PSA test, is a simple blood draw. The second is a brief rectal exam that takes less than 30 seconds to perform.
âFor a screening, if a patient comes and asks for a prostate cancer screening, it begins with a blood test,â said Ehdaie. âItâs a small vial of blood, and then a medical history and physical examination. In the physical examination there will be a digital rectal examination in which the physicianâs finger is inserted into the rectum to feel the prostate.â
Questions About Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors, including the type and location of the disease. Here are the answers to some common questions about prostate cancer treatment:Should I consider surgery?
Candidates for surgery to treat prostate cancer have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Overall good health
- No spread of cancer to bone
- Tumor confined to the prostate gland
- Under the age of 70
- Expected to live another 10 years or more
Depending on the extent of your disease, there are two main surgical options: radical prostatectomy or robotic or laparoscopic prostatectomy.
Is radiation an option for me?
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® , our radiation oncologists use a variety of therapies and tools to deliver maximum radiation doses to tumors, with less damage to healthy tissues and organs. Focusing the radiation directly on the tumor may lower the risk of side effects. Our range of radiation therapy options includes external beam radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, high-dose rate brachytherapy and low-dose rate brachytherapy.
- A small tumor that is confined to the prostate
- A slow-growing cancer
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Diagnostic Tests Are Limited
We always knew that prostate cancer is common and that, until recently, it often went undiagnosed: Autopsies of men who died of other causes have shown that about one-third of men over age 50 have some cancerous cells in their prostate, while 90% of men over age 90 have such cells.
As PSA screening has grown more widespread, we are finding more tumors that otherwise would have escaped detection. Yet current diagnostic technology does not always enable urologists to determine which tumors will lie dormant and which will become active, spreading elsewhere in the body.
Studies estimate that anywhere from 16%56% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, generally because of an abnormal PSA test, have tumors that might never have caused problems had they not been found. And the landmark Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial unexpectedly yielded data that early-stage prostate tumors are incredibly common, even at PSA levels considered normal.
The PCPT was a randomized controlled study the type considered to be the gold standard in research . The study, which involved almost 19,000 healthy men, was designed to evaluate whether the drug finasteride could prevent prostate cancer from developing. Finasteride is a hormonal medication originally approved to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia , but which has also been investigated as a potential treatment for prostate cancer.
What Should Patients Know About Msks Approach To Treating Prostate Cancer
At MSK, we manage prostate cancer in a very comprehensive way, tailored to each patients disease. There is no one specific therapy that is best for everyone.
Our initial assessment includes a carefully evaluated biopsy and a very detailed MRI to show the location of the disease, the integrity or soundness of the capsule surrounding the prostate, and the amount of disease. We will often obtain next-generation imaging and do genomic testing. Then, based on that information and with input from the urologist, the radiation oncologist, and the medical oncologist we can provide a comprehensive recommendation.
The radiotherapy we do here at MSK is state-of-the-art and unparalleled. We are one of the few centers in the world to do MRI-based treatment planning and one of the few centers in the US to offer MRI-guided treatment. When we give brachytherapy, we use computer software that provides us with real-time information about the quality and accuracy of the seed implant during the procedure. It requires a great deal of collaboration with our medical physics team to try to get the most accurate positioning of the prostate during the actual three or four minutes of the treatment.
We make adjustments while the patient is still under anesthesia, so that when the procedure is completed, we have been able to achieve ideal placement of the radiation seeds. This translates into improved outcomes.
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Risks And Benefits Of Psa Test
There are benefits of having a PSA test which include early detection of prostate cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chance of a cure.
There are also risks involved. These include:
- Worry about false-positive results caused by elevated PSA levels from something other than prostate cancer. A raised PSA result could be from something benign
- Invasive, stressful, expensive or time-consuming follow-up tests
- Stress or anxiety caused by knowing you have a slow-growing prostate cancer that doesnt need treatment
Treatments For Prostate Cancer Spread To Bones
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it nearly always goes to the bones first. Bone metastasis can be painful and can cause other problems, such as fractures , spinal cord compression , or high blood calcium levels, which can be dangerous or even life threatening.
If the cancer has grown outside the prostate, preventing or slowing the spread of the cancer to the bones is a major goal of treatment. If the cancer has already reached the bones, controlling or relieving pain and other complications is also a very important part of treatment.
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What Is The Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Treatment for prostate cancer greatly depends on your individual diagnosis, including how big it is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Many cases of prostate cancer do not need treatment at all. This is because they will likely not cause a reduction in your life expectancy, and treatment would cause more side effects than benefits. While there are many types of treatment for prostate cancer, the most common treatments will be summarized. If you require treatment for prostate cancer, your care team will explain all treatment options to you.
What Age Should Men Be Screened For Prostate Cancer
The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that Black men or men with a family history of cancer be screened at the age of 40 otherwise, the organization advises getting screened at 45. The American Cancer Society recommends that men at âaverage riskâ be screened at the age of 50, while âmen at high risk of developing prostate cancerâ like Black men and men who have a first-degree relative, like a father or brother, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65, be screened at 45. Men at âeven higher riskâ should be screened at 40.
In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation advising men to start talking about screenings with their doctors at the age of 55.
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Considering Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
For most men diagnosed with prostate cancer, the cancer is found while its still at an early stage its small and has not spread beyond the prostate gland. These men often have several treatment options to consider.
Not every man with prostate cancer needs to be treated right away. If you have early-stage prostate cancer, there are many factors such as your age and general health, and the likelihood that the cancer will cause problems for you to consider before deciding what to do. You should also think about the possible side effects of treatment and how likely they are to bother you. Some men, for example, may want to avoid possible side effects such as incontinence or erection problems for as long as possible. Other men are less concerned about these side effects and more concerned about removing or destroying the cancer.
If youre older or have other serious health problems and your cancer is slow growing , you might find it helpful to think of prostate cancer as a chronic disease that will probably not lead to your death but may cause symptoms you want to avoid. You may think more about watchful waiting or active surveillance, and less about treatments that are likely to cause major side effects, such as radiation and surgery. Of course, age itself is not necessarily the best reason for your choice. Many men are in good mental and physical shape at age 70, while some younger men may not be as healthy.
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A Biopsy Is Done To Diagnose Prostate Cancer And Find Out The Grade Of The Cancer
A transrectal biopsy is used to diagnose prostate cancer. A transrectal biopsy is the removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the rectum and into the prostate. This procedure may be done using transrectal ultrasound or transrectal MRI to help guide where samples of tissue are taken from. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Sometimes a biopsy is done using a sample of tissue that was removed during a transurethral resection of the prostate to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
If cancer is found, the pathologist will give the cancer a grade. The grade of the cancer describes how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread. The grade of the cancer is called the Gleason score.
To give the cancer a grade, the pathologist checks the prostate tissue samples to see how much the tumor tissue is like the normal prostate tissue and to find the two main cell patterns. The primary pattern describes the most common tissue pattern, and the secondary pattern describes the next most common pattern. Each pattern is given a grade from 3 to 5, with grade 3 looking the most like normal prostate tissue and grade 5 looking the most abnormal. The two grades are then added to get a Gleason score.
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During Treatment For Advanced Prostate Cancer
When treatments such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy are used for more advanced prostate cancer, the PSA level can help show how well the treatment is working or when it might be time to try a different treatment.
Treatments should lower the PSA level , although in some cases they may just help keep it from rising further, or even just slow the rise. Of course, other factors, such as whether youre having symptoms from your cancer and whether imaging tests show it is growing, are also important when deciding if it might be time to change treatments.
If the cancer has spread outside the prostate, the actual PSA level is often not as important as whether it changes, and how quickly it changes. The PSA level itself does not predict whether or not a man will have symptoms or how long he will live. Many men have very high PSA levels and feel just fine. Other men with low PSA levels can have symptoms.
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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Figure 2 Why Understaging May Occur
When the prostate is removed, a pathologist examines slices of the gland for evidence of cancer. A. Under a microscope, the pathologist can distinguish tiny tumors, consisting of clumps of visibly abnormal cells. B. With current imaging technology, it is not yet possible for a pathologist to identify micrometastases individual cancer cells shed from the primary tumor that have gone on to seed adjacent tissue. In this image, for example, cancer cells have already penetrated the capsule and migrated to adjacent tissue, even beyond the margin of tissue removed during surgery.
Individual prostate cancer cells can spread to more remote areas of the body in three ways . Whats more, they can do so without being detected with our current technology, essentially escaping under the radar. So its always possible even if you are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer that the cancer has already spread and will manifest in the coming years. How likely is it that an early-stage prostate cancer will become active without treatment? A small study provides some clues .
Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they’re not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
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