What Is Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer
More than half of people undergoing cancer treatment get radiation therapy.
The treatment uses concentrated waves of intense energy to destroy cancer cells. The radiation may be in the form of X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons. These high-energy waves break down the DNA inside cancer cells and prevent them from replicating.
Radiation therapy can also damage healthy cells, but treatment seeks to minimize damage to healthy tissue. Normal cells can often recover from damage once treatment stops.
- as the first treatment for low-grade cancer contained to the prostate gland
- as the first treatment in combination with hormone therapy for cancer thats growing outside the prostate and into nearby tissue
- after surgery if the surgery doesnt completely get rid of the cancer or if the cancer grows back
- to keep advanced cancer under control and to help prevent symptoms
Two types of radiation therapy are used to treat prostate cancer. These are external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy.
Other Possible Side Effects
Anorgasmia is the inability to achieve orgasm regardless of the level of stimulation.
2) Penile shrinkage
Removal of the prostate seems to initiate a phase of penile shrinkage that varies between 2 to 3 cm. For men with large organs, this may have little effect. But a man that starts on the small side might be very dismayed about it.
3) Urine leakage or pain during intercourse
4) Urine leakage at orgasm;
5) Pain or discomfort at orgasm
What Can I As A Partner Expect
One of the effects of prostate cancer treatment is erectile dysfunction or impotence. This means that your partner may not be able to have erections that are hard enough for him to have sex with you or that he may not be interested in sex because of the medicine he is taking to treat his prostate cancer. This affects not only the man, but you, too, as his intimate partner. If you are the partner of a man with erectile dysfunction, it can be difficult to cope with changes in your sexual relationship. Sometimes men struggle to come to terms with changes in their body image or their ability to perform sexually. This can sometimes result in him staying away from intimate situations where he may feel under pressure to make love. As a partner you may feel rejected by what seems like a lack of sexual interest or intimacy. This may not have anything to do with his feelings for you, but is a result of his cancer treatment. Erectile dysfunction can be difficult for both of you. You may want to reassure your partner that:
- Sex is not as important as long as he is healthy and that he is no less of a man to you
- You will work through it with him
- You understand his feelings
- He is important to you
It may help if you explain to your partner how important nonsexual touching and intimacy such as kissing and cuddling is to you.
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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain
People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.
If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.
Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:
- Trouble with memory and speech
Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.
Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.
Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.
What Will I Learn By Reading This
When you have treatment for your prostate cancer, you may have erectile dysfunction also known as impotence. Erectile dysfunction is a very common side effect . Side effects from prostate cancer treatment are different from one man to the next. They may also be different from one treatment to the next. Some men have no erectile dysfunction. The good news is that there are ways to deal with erectile dysfunction. In this booklet you will learn:
- What erectile dysfunction is
- Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
- What can be done about erectile dysfunction
- How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
- What your partner can expect
It is important for you to learn how to deal with erectile dysfunction so that you can continue to have a satisfying intimate relationship.
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Sex After Surgery To The Prostate Gland
When your prostate gland is removed, you will still make sperm, but it wonât come out through your penis. It will be absorbed back into the body. You may also have problems with erections or lose interest in sex after prostate surgery. Although you may feel embarrassed, doctors who deal with prostate cancer are very used to talking about these issues and will be able to give you advice. There are treatments that can help with this.
What Are The Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects Of A Prostatectomy
The primary prostate cancer treatment side effects after a radical prostatectomy are incontinence and erectile dysfunction. These side effects are a product of the location of the prostate and the type of surgery performed. The prostate gland lies deep within the pelvis behind the pubic bone and in front of the rectum. The urinary bladder lies just above the prostate, the urinary sphincter control muscle is located just below it, and the erectile nerves lie just outside the prostate on either side. A patients age and overall health also influence the potential risks of radical prostatectomy just as it does with any major operation. Such risks include cardiac or pulmonary events, infections, blood clots, or injuries to structures around the prostate.
Following surgery, all men will have some urinary leakage. A good amount of bladder control is often regained within 12 weeks and continues to improve over 12 months. Multiple studies have shown that there is often a several month interval before a patient recovers normal erections, even with bilateral nerve-sparing surgery. Advantages to;the Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy technique are a reduced risk of intra-operative bleeding and a shortened hospital stay.
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Types Of Radical Prostatectomy
There are three main types of radical prostatectomy:
- Retropubic. In this procedure, the surgeon uses an incision in the lower abdomen to remove the prostate and the lymph nodes for examination. This procedure allows for a nerve-sparing approach, which can lower but not totally eliminate the risk of impotence following surgery. In the nerve-sparing approach, the surgeon tries to preserve one or both of the small nerve bundles needed for unassisted erections. However, if the cancer has spread to the nerves, this approach may not be advised.
- Laparoscopic. In this recently developed procedure, the prostate is removed in a fashion similar to a retropubic prostatectomy, but the procedure is performed through five very small incisions using lighted, magnified scopes and cameras. The prostate specimen is then removed in a small bag through one of the incisions, which is expanded to 2 to 3 cm to allow specimen removal.Potential benefits of this procedure are less pain and earlier return to full activities. Nerve-sparing methods and lymph node dissections can be performed with this technique as well.
- Perineal. In this procedure, the prostate is removed through an incision in the skin between the scrotum and anus. The lymph nodes can’t be removed through this incision. If the lymph nodes need to be examined, removal can be done through a small abdominal incision or by a laparoscopic procedure. A nerve-sparing approach can be performed perineally.
What Is Prostate Removal
A prostatectomy is a surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate, which is a small gland about the size of a ping-pong ball, located deep inside the groin, between the base of the penis and the rectum in men. The prostate supplies part of the seminal fluid , which mixes with sperm from the testes. Sperm needs this fluid to travel and survive for reproduction.
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The Purpose Of Prostate Surgery
Prostate cancer surgery, or radical prostatectomy, is a procedure conventional medicine praises for curing prostate cancer.
It has been performed for many years and was regarded as the gold standard of prostate cancer treatment. However, few studies compare its efficacy to other techniques.;
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer today are typically diagnosed with Gleason 6 cancer levels. But, according to many experts, this diagnosis may not be cancer! According to Mark Scholz, MD, a board-certified oncologist and expert on prostate cancer:
Misuse of the term cancer has tragic implications. Real cancer requires action and aggressive medical intervention with the goal of saving a life. But consider the potential havoc created by telling someone they have cancer when it is untrue. This dreadful calamity is occurring to 100,000 men every year in the United States with men who undergo a needle biopsy and are told they have prostate cancer with a grade of Gleason 6.
The impact of this is quite profound. Most prostate cancer diagnosed today falls into this Gleason 6. If it is not cancer, thousands of men have had aggressive treatment for cancer they dont really have.
Aggressive treatment, usually a complete surgical removal of the prostate , is the typical result. This leaves the patient to suffer from its side effects for the rest of their life.
Overall Outlook Following Prostate Cancer Surgery
Surgery for prostate cancer has been refined over the years, and is now associated with fewer complications and a good long-term success rate. Nonetheless, complications such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction do still occur and can be very distressing.
It is important to ask your surgeon for information about all the things that are important to you before the operation. However, they can only give you statistics and probabilities and will not be able to tell you exactly what will happen to you every man has a different story to tell.
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Going Home With A Catheter
You will be discharged from the hospital with a catheter in place to drain urine from your bladder into a bag. The doctor will remove this in the office in five to 14 days. Be sure to clean the catheter where it exits your penis twice a day with soap and water and to empty the bag frequently. The bag should always be positioned lower than your bladder.
On occasion, the catheter may irritate the bladder, causing bladder spasms that can be quite uncomfortable. If these occur, your doctor can prescribe medication that can help. Leakage of urine around where the catheter exits the penis also may occur and can be managed by wearing incontinence pads as described in the next section.
It is normal for your urine to look cloudy for a few weeks after surgery. Occasionally, bleeding may occur around the catheter or be noticed within the urine. This also is common. If you see large clots â more than an inch in length â or if the catheter becomes plugged, contact your doctor. No anesthesia is required for catheter removal, and most patients experience only a little discomfort.
Long Term Side Effects Of External Radiotherapy
You might have long term side effects after having external radiotherapy for prostate cancer, such as erection problems . Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of these problems, they;can help you with them.;
Most side effects gradually go away in the weeks or months after treatment. But long term side effects can continue. Or you might notice that they begin months or years later.
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When Is Radiation Therapy Used
There are some instances where the practitioners opt for radiotherapy for prostate cancer as opposed to other forms of treatment. Here are some of the situations in which radiation therapy may be used:
- As the first treatment of cancer, which is still confined to the prostate gland.
- It is used along with hormone therapy during the first treatment for prostate cancer that has extended the nearby tissues.
- After the reoccurrence of cancer in the area, it was before surgery.
- To keep cancer under control and relieve you from the symptoms for as long as possible if the cancer is advanced.
Loss Of Bladder Control
You may have some light dribbling or trouble controlling your bladder after a radical prostatectomy. This is known as urinary incontinence or urinary leakage. You may need to use a pad to manage urinary leakage for some days or weeks after the operation. Bladder control usually improves in a few weeks but it can take up to a year after the surgery. For about 5% of people, incontinence is ongoing and may need an operation to fix. In rare cases, incontinence may be permanent.
For help managing these problems, see;Urinary problems.
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Side Effects From Radiation
Urinary symptoms from radiation treatment for prostate cancer are different from those caused by prostate surgery. “It’s more like a urinary tract infection-increased urgency and frequency, and men may some have bleeding or pain when they urinate,” Calvaresi said. These problems often go away once treatment is complete.
Radiation also may cause bowel changes, such as constipation, loose stools or both. These can be managed by over-the-counter medication. Men may also see some blood in their stool during treatment-if so, let your health care provider know about this.
Men undergoing radiation are likely to have ED, but not immediately. “It slowly sets in after radiation treatment,” Calvaresi said. Treatments for radiation-related ED are the same as ED caused by prostate cancer surgery.
What Are The Side Effects Of Prostate Removal
Major effects of prostate removal include urinary incontinence and impotence, according to the American Cancer Society. These effects may last from several months to years, depending on the patients health.
There are three major types of incontinence: stress, overflow and urge. Stress incontinence is most common. Patients may leak urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercising, says ACS. This occurs due to problems with the muscular valve that keeps urine in the bladder. Overflow incontinence is diagnosed by patients having trouble emptying their bladders. The cause is usually a blockage or narrowing of the bladder outlet by scar tissue. Urge incontinence is diagnosed with a sudden need to urinate. It is caused by an overly sensitive bladder.
The prostate is typically removed due to cancer, explains WebMD. While an official cause is not known, it is believed that diet is a major factor. Eating large amounts of fat from red meat or meats cooked at high temperatures produces cancer-causing substances. Prostate cancer is more common in countries where diets consist of meat and dairy products.
Prostate cancer is a slow-building cancer that often shows no symptoms until it is in advanced stages. It is rare in patients under the age of 50, and many experts believe most elderly men have traces of the disease. African-American men are most likely to contract the disease and have the highest death rate, reports WebMD.
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Open Rp Versus Robotic
The ability to perform robotic-assisted laparoscopic RP was first described in 2000. Over the past decade, RALRP has gained widespread acceptance and now is the dominant approach to RP in the United States. Many attribute the adoption of the RALRP to marketing as opposed to any objective outcomes data showing superiority over the open approach.
All of the intermediate- and long-term HRQOL outcomes reported in the literature are limited to open RP. The question is, are these findings relevant to RALRP?
Unfortunately, there are no randomized studies comparing HRQOL outcomes following open versus robotic RP. The majority of studies comparing HRQOL outcomes between the two techniques are flawed in design. First, the level of experience of surgeons performing the two techniques and their patient volume are often not comparable. In addition, validated instruments for capturing outcomes are usually not employed. Surgeons are sometimes involved in the data acquisition, entry, and interpretation, which can introduce bias. There are several studies that have examined large administrative databases, which often mitigate bias, but the quality of outcome measures is subject to criticism. A few studies stand out as objective and worthy of comment.
Barocas and colleagues compared men undergoing open and RALRP and failed to show any advantages of either approach for preventing biochemical recurrence.
When To Call Your Doctor Or Nurse
Its important to tell your doctor or nurse if:
- your bladder feels full or your catheter isnt draining urine
- your catheter leaks or falls out
- your urine contains blood clots, turns cloudy, dark or red, or has a strong smell
- your wound area or the tip of your penis becomes red, swollen or painful
- you have a fever
- you feel sick or vomit
- you get cramps in your stomach area that will not go away
- you get pain or swelling in the muscles in your lower legs.
Your doctor or nurse will let you know if you should go to the hospital.
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