With early diagnosis, when the cancer is confined to the prostate itself, men usually have a range of treatment options, including active surveillance, surgical removal of the prostate, or radiation, hormonal, or chemotherapy. Only a patient and his physician can determine which treatments are most appropriate. This decision depends on a combination of factors, including the stage at which the disease is diagnosed and the patient’s age, general health and personal preferences. We don’t want you to feel rushed or pressured in any way as you weigh the pros and cons of each treatment method. Our physicians can provide you with the necessary information to help you make an informed decision. We urge you to ask as many questions as you need to. We specialize in the following treatment options:
The male hormone testosterone fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells. By cutting off the body’s supply of testosterone, hormone therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth. Generally only used for advanced or recurrent prostate cancer, hormone therapy for prostate cancer may include medications and, in advanced cases, surgery to remove the testicle. The hormonal medications used to treat prostate cancer work by interrupting the secretion of testosterone by the testicles, or blocking the action of testosterone on normal prostate and prostate cancer cells. These medications work in several ways and cause prostate cancer growth to be slowed down. LHRH agonists and antagonists interrupt signals to the pituitary gland in the brain, thus causing the testicles to stop producing testosterone. Antiandrogens block the action of testosterone on normal and prostate cancer cells. Hormone therapy is used in several ways to treat prostate cancer:
- As a treatment for metastatic prostate cancer – prostate cancer that has spread outside of the prostate gland
- In combination with radiation therapy for aggressive (high-risk) forms of prostate cancer
- To keep the prostate cancer under control after failure of radiation and/or surgical treaments
- As the primary treatment for newly diagnosed older patients who are not candidates for, or choose not to have, surgery or radiation therapy
- To shrink the size of the prostate gland prior to brachytherapy treatment
Radiation Oncology is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying their ability to reproduce. Relative to normal cells, cancer cells are more susceptible to radiation therapy because of their constant growth and limited ability to repair radiation damage. There are 3 methods of radiation therapy used to treat prostate cancer:
- External Beam Radiation Therapy, in which the tumor is targeted with high-energy beams
- Brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation therapy in which “seeds” of radioactive material are placed inside the body, in and around the tumor
- Combined External Beam Radiation Therapy and Brachytherapy
Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that includes removal of the entire prostate gland and the attached seminal vesicles for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Because prostate cancer spreads via the lymph nodes, these nodes are also removed during the operation. Following removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles, the bladder and urethra are re-attached and a catheter is left in place to drain urine while healing takes place.
Traditionally, this surgery was performed through a large open incision. However, at North Bay Urology, our surgeons use the most cutting-edge technologies for radical prostatectomy including the da Vinci robotic platform.
Because robotic-assisted surgery is minimally invasive, it typically results in less blood loss, less complications, shorter hospital stay, less scarring and faster recovery for patients. Surgeries typically take 3 hours, and most patients are discharged the day after surgery with very little pain.
In addition, we use various techniques, including athermal nerve-sparing, bladder neck preservation, musculofascial reconstruction and extended pelvic lymph node dissections to remove all stages of prostate cancer with as minimal impact to quality of life as possible.