Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting men over the age of 75. Although it is rarely found in men younger than 40, African American men are likely to develop this type of cancer at any age. Besides men of African American descent, people exposed to Agent Orange and cadmium, farmers, painters, tire plant workers, and people subject to alcohol abuse are more at risk. Treatment for prostate cancer is varied and can range from surgery, radiation, therapy and even hormonal therapy. It also depends on the age of the patients; in patients with advanced age sometimes monitoring the cancer with PSA tests and biopsies may be the only option. Here are a few things that you ought to know about the treatment:
– Latest studies have revealed that those undergoing intermittent treatment or taking periodic breaks could risk shortening their lives. Continuous therapy is of vital importance to patients suffering from metastatic prostate cancer. This latest study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology is absolutely against conventional belief, and its acceptance is likely to be widely debated.
– Another study found that the use of the drug Zytiga (produced by Johnson& Johnson) when used earlier in the course of treatment increases the chances of the patient living longer. This pill is often administered by physicians as the last alternative.
– Hormonal therapy is currently the most popular treatment available and an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 men use it. Side effects of this therapy include loss of libido, hot flashes, weight gain, etc. it is to control these side effects that physicians offer intermittent treatments. The study also found that people undergoing intermittent therapy had a median survival of 5.2 years, while those undergoing continuous treatment had a survival rate of 5.8 years.
– To treat or not to treat early prostate cancer seems to be a major question among physicians because surgery and radiation may cause long term impotence or other risks. Doctors often argue about the importance of such a measure to treat a very small and slow growth that may never cause any symptoms. They suggest constant monitoring. But on the other hand some argue that early treatment could kill tumors that are likely to be aggressive thereby increasing the chances of a person’s survival.
– As earlier said, age is the most crucial factor. Surgery for men below the age of 65 extends their chances of survival, but for men above the age of 65, surgery causes least impact.