Prostate Cancer Treatments

Deciding on Treatment for Prostate Cancer

When it comes to your health, some decisions are easier than others to make. For example, it may be a no-brainer to opt for regular blood pressure checks. Deciding on treatment for prostate cancer can be a lot trickier. Men with early stage disease have a number of choices. And according to recent research, it isn’t always clear which treatment may be best.

Which treatments work
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. But it’s usually a slow-growing disease. It can often be cured if it hasn’t yet spread outside the prostate. For these cases, one or more of the following treatments may work:
  •     Surgery to remove the tumor from the prostate
  •     Radiation therapy. This uses high-energy X-rays or another form of radiation to kill or stop the growth of cancerous cells.
  •     Watchful waiting. This means not taking action right away. Instead, your doctor keeps an eye on the cancer to see if it starts to cause symptoms.
So which approach is best? It’s hard to tell. No study to date has directly compared all types of treatment over a long period of time. But one recent study tried to do so using statistical analysis.

Researchers compiled 21 past studies that included more than 7,300 men with early stage prostate cancer. They used data from these studies to compare the safety and effectiveness of several standard treatments. These included watchful waiting, a type of surgery called prostatectomy, and several forms of radiation therapy.

No treatment was rated superior in terms of survival. Some therapies did fare better when the researchers looked at certain side effects. Overall, though, they caution that more research is needed.