If prosate cancer is low-grade and not causing any sypmtoms it may be simply surveilled by your doctor, this is sometimes referred to as the ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘hopeful waiting’ period. If you or someone you know is in this stage of treatment I suggest you take advantage of the time to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, quit smoking, reduce or cease alcohol consumption, take up regular daily exercise and maybe even consider meditation or something similar.
Once prostate cancer has advanced surgery and radiotherapy are quite often the first lines of treatment. Surgery with curative intent removes the entire prostate gland, this is called a ‘radical prostatectomy’. Radical radiotherapy can also be given with curative intent, either with external radiation or by implanting radioactive seeds into the prostate gland, this is called ‘brachytherapy’. Maintaining your bowel health and regular bowel movements is essential to avoid any complications associated with radiation therapy in the area.
For widespread disease, hormone therapy reduces the stimulus of the male hormones. Removing the testis or injecting luteinising hormone releasing hormone (LHRH), or anti-androgen hormones, can hold the disease for three to four years and may improve outcomes if given early with radiation in high risk patients. When hormone resistance occurs, chemotherapy can be used. A class of drugs called bisphosphonates can be used to help control bone metastases.
The Cancer Council are an excellent source of information on prostate cancer, for more information on prostate cancer or to find out about their free support services call their helpline on 13 11 20.
The Hunter Prostate Cancer Alliance is a Newcaslte based organisation, their freecall helpline is 1800 881 826, they are a great source of information and I am sure they could link you with support services in your area.
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