You will face many hard decisions if a loved one or you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Including several questions like where should you go for treatment? What are the available treatment options? How to maintain your quality of life? We have tried to describe these concers, the types, and possible treatment, which will help you decide.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer that originates in the prostate gland, the walnut-shaped small gland that produces seminal fluid and nourishes the sperm in males, is called prostate cancer. As the prostate is located below the bladder and near the rectum and urethra, prostate diseases, including cancer, may affect the urinary system. And the nerves and blood vessels that help men get an erection are located close to the prostate, which makes prostate cancer or radiation treatment for the prostate to affect sexual function. It is the second most common cancer seen in men after skin cancer in the US. Most prostate cancers (90 %) are slow-growing, do not spread to the adjacent areas, and need no or minimal treatment. But, some types can be aggressive, spread quickly, and need radical treatment. In such cases, the cancer cells can reach lymph nodes or bones in the pelvis.
What Are the Types of Prostate Cancer?
- Acinar Adenocarcinoma - This common type of prostate cancer develops in the gland cells. The majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have this type.
- Ductal Adenocarcinoma - This tumor develops in the lining of the ducts or tubes of the prostate gland. It is a little more aggressive than acinar adenocarcinoma.
- Transitional Cell or Urothelial Cancer - Urothelial cancer develops in the cells that line the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and then spreads to the prostate. Very rarely, this type can begin in the prostate and spread to the bladder.
- Squamous Cell Cancer - The flat cells covering the prostate can start multiplying abnormally and form this type of cancer. They are fast-growing when compared to adenocarcinoma.
- Small-Cell Prostate Cancer -This cancer has small round cells, and it is a type of neuroendocrine cancer that develops from neuroendocrine cells (cells that release hormones in response to nerve signals).
- Sarcoma - This rare soft tissue cancer can also affect the prostate.
What Are the Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer?
Only regular screening is needed for men with slow-growing prostate cancer without any symptoms. Screening includes regular monitoring of the tumor’s growths and looking for any changes. MSKCC’s surgeons are highly experienced in performing prostate surgery, robotic, laparoscopic, and open surgery for patients needing surgery. Their surgeons are working tirelessly to improve the outcome of radical prostatectomy.
MSKCC surgeons are also experienced in performing radical salvage prostatectomy. This is done for patients with prostate cancer recurrence after radiation therapy. MSKCC’s radiation oncology team is leading in treating this cancer with various types of radiotherapy, such as image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT), stereotactic high-precision radiosurgery (similar to CyberKnife), stereotactic hypofractionated radiation therapy (MSK PreciseTM), and low-dose-rate permanent seed implants and high-dose-rate temporary seed implants (both forms of brachytherapy).
For localized prostate tumors, patients can benefit from focal therapy, a term used for non-invasive techniques like freezing, electricity, heat, or highly targeted seed implants. These therapies are targeted to destroy only the cancerous part of the prostate. For aggressive prostate cancers, patients are offered a combined treatment approach, including hormone therapy, brachytherapy, and radiation therapy.
MSKCC is also the coordinating center for the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium, which is a collaboration between 13 leading centers focused on early drug development and clinical trial design. MSKCC’s follow-up care experts help patients with aggressive prostate cancers cope with maintaining a good quality of life. And patients who experience sexual problems can benefit from MSKCC’s Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program.