There are multiple options for treating prostate cancer. These range from Active Surveillance to surgical removal of the prostate gland. There are also multiple radiation treatment options and cryosurgical ablation of the prostate. For metstatic prostate cancer or patients who are not candidates for surgery or radiation, there is also testosterone suppression therapy to slow the growth of the cancer and chemotherapy when all else has failed.
The popularity of surgery in this country has grown rapidly in recent years. A study of Medicare patient records found that the number of men nationwide undergoing radical prostatectomy by 1990 had increased six-fold since 1984. Since 1993, the rate of radical prostatectomy has decreased slightly, attributed to improvements in radiation therapies. The development of the da Vinci Surgical System, however, has sparked a renewed interest in minimally invasive radical prostatectomy. With a minimally invasive means to remove the entire prostate, while more frequently allows rapid return to normal activity, more patients than ever are selecting robotic surgery to treat their prostate cancer.
For the patient diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are multiple factors to consider before choosing a method of treatment. Important considerations are overall health, age (life expectancy), and the personal assessment of the various side effects that can result from each treatment. For men who are expected to live at least 15 years and are in relatively good health, surgical removal of the prostate liklely provides the best chance of long-term cure from prostate cancer.
Treatment decisions can be difficult to make by yourself. No internet search or written word can take the place of talking directly with your physician. In addition, talk with your family and friends and consider getting more than one opinion. Most physicians truly believe in what they do, so it is natural for urologists to lean toward surgery and for radiation oncologists to recommend radiation. Your primary care physician can also help you choose the treatment that is best for you. You might find it useful to speak with others who have faced or are currently facing the same issues. Visit the Links Page for a list of internet forums and support groups devoted to prostate cancer issues.