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New treatments help prostate cancer patients

Published On: Jul 30 2013 11:11:58 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 14 2013 03:58:29 PM CDT
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iStockPhoto / RapidEye

(NewsUSA) - Men facing a diagnosis of prostate cancer have more treatment options than ever before, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society reports that, in 2008, one-quarter of all cancer diagnosed in men was prostate cancer.

But dramatic advances in treatments are allowing more men to beat the disease. Nearly 99 percent of men with prostate cancer now live five years or more after diagnosis.

Since there are several options, it's important to discuss all the treatment methods with a radiation oncologist, a physician who specializes in treating diseases with radiation therapy, and a urologist, a surgeon who specializes in the urinary tract. They'll help you decide which treatment plan is best for you. Possibilities include surgery, external beam radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or prostate brachytherapy.

Sometimes, a combination of treatments proves to be the best way to fight prostate cancer. For instance, some men choose surgery followed by external beam radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy.

External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily treatments that accurately deliver radiation to the prostate. This method often succeeds in treating cancer. Types of external beam radiation therapy include three dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and proton beam therapy.

Brachytherapy involves treating the cancer by inserting radioactive sources into the gland itself. Seed implants are given by inserting small metal seeds of radioactive iodine or palladium directly into the prostate while the patient is under anesthesia.

In discussing treatment plans with your cancer specialists, be sure to keep your lifestyle in mind. Remember, every man's cancer and lifestyle are unique. Discussions with several specialists can help you decide on the most effective and suitable treatment for your lifestyle and condition.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology has a brochure to help men and their families better understand their treatment options. Visit www.rtanswers.org.