A cancer diagnosis is hard, no matter the kind, no matter the stage. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, at least know this. It grows more slowly than most other cancers. And it is usually caught early. Meaning the cancer cells probably haven’t spread beyond the prostate.
This also means you have more treatment options. Talk to your doctor about these options. With your doctor’s approval, take your time to research them. There’s often no need to rush. Second opinions never hurt since it’s normal for anyone to suggest the option they know best. You want the one that is right for you. It’s also encouraging to note that prostate cancer treatments keep getting better.
Your spouse or partner will be affected by your choice. So it is a good idea to air concerns and involve them in your decision.
The clinical stage of your cancer is important in choosing a treatment. And there is seldom just one right treatment choice. Active surveillance, surgery, and radiation therapy are the standard therapy choices for men with early-stage prostate cancer, according to The National Cancer Institute. Each choice carries its own benefits and risks.
Active surveillance. This is an option for men with early-stage prostate cancer since the cancer often grows so slowly. If the cancer doesn’t affect their quality or length of life, some men chose this option to avoid treatment costs and side effects. Active surveillance is closely watching for any sign the cancer may be growing or changing. You’ll need your doctor’s help with this to make sure you receive the right kinds of tests, such as DRE, PSAs and/or biopsies. If tests show your cancer is growing or changing, you can explore treatment options then. Or you can change your mind about active surveillance and at any time and start exploring treatment.
Surgery. Surgery is normally a treatment choice for men with early-stage prostate cancer who are in good health. Surgery to remove the prostate is called prostatectomy. There are different types of surgery for prostate cancer. Some require a long incision. Some are done laparoscopically through small cuts. Your doctor can explain more and help you explore these options.
Radiation. Radiation therapy is a good choice for many men with early-stage prostate cancer. Often, it is also the best treatment for older men or those who have other health problems. There are different types of radiation therapy. Some are done externally where a machine directs radiation right at the cancer. Some are done internally where radiative material is placed inside the prostate. Again, please talk to your doctor about the type of radiation that is right for you.
Just remember, you can live a full life after prostate cancer.