Treatment cancer

Prostate cancer treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer (nlm. gov). Treatment of prostate cancer is dependent on the stage of the disease. Radical treatment may involve a prostatectomy and radiation therapy but these are noted to cause sexual problems. Alternative treatment using herbs, selenium and Vitamin E are also explored by some patients.

These treatments are believed to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Dimah and Dimah report on studies conducted at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine where it was discovered that Vitamin E slows the growth of prostate cancer “by preventing a particular protein from adhering to the hormone androgen and by stopping the production of prostate- specific androgen” Preventative measures may be taken by males. Chemoprevention has been observed to decrease the growth of cancerous prostate cells. Selenium and Vitamin E are also believed to lower the risk of developing the disease.

Current research into prostate cancer is looking at the potential of a number of druggins in improving the management of prostate cancer. All the treatments below are experimental and are only available to men taking part in research trials. New types of hormonal therapy have been developed in recent times. These include abarelix, degarelix, ganirelix and cetrorelix. There is also the development of cryotherapy in prostate cancers that are in the early stages. This treatment is available on a limited basis as its effectiveness as a treatment for prostate cancer has yet to be properly determined.

Its limitation is that it may only be used when the cancer is very small and for those cancers that are located near the outer edge of the prostate. This procedure requires general or spinal anesthesia. The mechanism is that metal probes are placed through the skin directly into the area of the prostate gland that is affected. The probe has in nitrogen which is used to freeze the cancer cell until eventually it is destroyed. Even though the anesthetic is used there may still be a great amount of discomfort and pain. Painkillers usually have to be administered even days after the procedure.

Following this procedure a tube is placed into the bladder, through the skin of the abdomen to drain urine to facilitate the passing of urine for about two weeks or less. Unfortunately 80% of men who have done the procedure have become incompetent and for a further 10% the results were very inconclusive. Several chemotherapy drugs are now being tested as alternatives to other hormonal therapies that are not proving to be responsive to cancer. Additionally high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is another type of treatment that is being proposed.

This treatment is being advanced possibly as an alternative surgery particularly for prostate cancer in their early stages. The high-frequency ultrasound waves are aimed at the cancer. These waves heat up the cancer cell resulting in their death. However the effectiveness of this method is yet to be determined neither have the side effects been identifies.. Some hospitals are experimenting with photodynamic therapy. This type of treatment is specifically for recurrent cancer that returns to the prostate after initial treatment. First a light-sensitive drug is injected into a vein.

A lapse time ensues in which the drug is allowed to concentrate in the cancer cells. In the next stage a laser light is shone directly unto the cancer. The drugs are activated by the light and thereby the cancer cells are killed. A short term side effect is that patients are very sensitive to light in the two to three weeks that follow the procedure. Again the effectiveness of the method has not yet been determined. Research is also ongoing to develop a vaccine against prostate cancer but there has been very little breakthrough so far. These immunotherapy treatments work by stimulating the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

A drug called GM-CSF can also be used to try to control the growth of prostate cancer. Gene therapy trials are trying to find out if injecting a genetically changed virus into the prostate cancer can kill the cancer cells. This treatment is used only for men who have prostate cancer that has continued to develop despite them having other standard treatments. The many approaches mentioned above highlight to the fact that there is wide array of options that are either available for treatment or are undergoing experimentation. These developments go a far way in advancing understanding on how the mechanisms of treatment operate.

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