Prostate Cancer Treatments
For some men with prostate cancer that is still limited to the prostate, radical prostate surgery (prostatectomy) may be a good choice. This kind of surgery is done by urologists and involves the removal of all the prostate tissue and frequently some of the lymph nodes as well.
There are several methods of treating prostate cancer with radiation. Most men have been treated with radiation from a machine (linear accelerator), which is carefully aimed at the prostate and tissues around the prostate. Some men may be treated by inserting radioactive "seeds" into the prostate to deliver doses of radiation directly to the prostate. Other men are treated with a combination of radiation from a machine and a seed implant. We began performing seed implants of the prostate in 1997. A new technique is now available at St. Mary-Corwin involving high doses of radiation in a very short time delivered directly to the cancer cells.
Prostate cancer usually responds to the removal of testosterone (male hormone) by shrinking and may seem to go away with this treatment. This response is usually not permanent, but may be very helpful in preparing a patient for better treatment with surgery or radiation by reducing the amount of cancer that must be destroyed by surgery or radiation. In addition, hormone treatment may be used when the cancer has spread to other places (metastasized). Hormone treatment may be done by removing the testicles or by injections of medication, which stop the production of testosterone.