The prostate is located at the base of the bladder. It sits atop the urethra and has two lobes that encircle it. These lobes have muscle tissue that allows you to regulate the flow of your urine. The prostate produces seminal fluid which is used to carry sperm during orgasm.
Prostate cancer affects the activities of the prostate beginning in what experts refer to as stage T2. At this point the early signs of prostate cancer may begin to appear:
- Difficulty with starting or stopping urine flow
- Inability to urinate
- Weak or feeble urine flow
- Urination more frequently, especially at night
- The need to urinate is intense
- Pain during urination and ejaculation
- Blood in semen or urine
No physical symptoms appear during stage T1 when the cancer is in its earliest stages. Medical personnel and researchers are unanimous in the assertion that a patient’s best chance for a complete recovery is to begin treatment while the cancer is in stages T1 or T2 while the disease is confined to the prostate gland and has not yet spread to the surrounding tissue. After the cancer has grown beyond the prostate, treatments currently available cannot affect a cure. The disease can only be slowed to a degree.
Surgery has been the most commonly diagnosed treatment for men suffering from prostate cancer for many decades. There are 3 surgical procedures used for prostate cancer. Which one is recommended to you by your doctor will depend on your specific case.
A prostatectomy is done to remove the prostate. A pelvic lymph node dissection is done to remove the lymph nodes. A transurethral resection is carried out to relieve the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate that is blocking the urethra. Sections of the prostate are removed through the urethra.
For each of these operations, a hospital stay and general anesthetic are required. Side effects from these treatments often include urinary incontinence and impotence.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
For this procedure a radioactive source is focused on your pelvic region to burn away diseased cells. It is carried out on an out-patient basis for 5 consecutive days for each of 5 consecutive weeks.
Side effects may include chronic pelvic pain, impotence and radiation burns to tissue surrounding the prostate.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
The concept behind this procedure is to use ablation to remove cancerous cells. Ablation is to remove a substance using heat and evaporation. Cells infected with the cancer are identified and isolated using an MRI. When the diseased cells have been targeted, they are heated using sound ultrasound waves. The procedure is non-surgical and non-invasive, using a computer controlled rectal probe. The trained urological surgeon controls the focused ultrasound via a computer screen and sensors on the probe. The ultrasound waves are extremely focused to target a small area with each pulse, and so are controlled to eliminate only the diseased cells on the prostate. Healthy cells adjacent to the tumor are usually unaffected by the focused pulse. This procedure can target the whole of the prostate gland in approximately 3 hours.
During this procedure you are given a local anesthetic and a general anesthetic. When it’s finished you can go home with no dietary restrictions; of course any dietary recommendations made by your family doctor should still be followed. Ablatherm HIFU can offer a cure rate in excess of 90%.