When a patient is diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, the cancer care team will propose some treatment methods. Here are some of the most common treatment options to improve the patient’s metastatic prostate cancer survival rate.
Radiation treatment, or radiotherapy, utilizes high energy rays to kill, or at least slow down the metastasis process of the cancer cells. By killing the cancer cells and preventing it from rapidly spreading to other organs, it is hoped that this treatment can increase metastatic prostate cancer survival rate. Radiation treatment is also used to relieve pains and other symptoms prostate cancer patients often feel.
Radiotherapy can be used to improve metastatic prostate cancer survival rate in several different ways. Firstly, the high energy rays are aimed from outside the body using a dedicated machine. Furthermore, this treatment also can be performed by surgically planted small radioactive seeds inside the prostate. This radiotherapy treatment is called brachytherapy.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. The patients can take the drugs as pills, but they also can be given intravenously. Just like radiation, chemotherapy is an aggressive treatment for prostate cancer, and other cancers in general. Therefore, it is only used to treat metastatic prostate cancer.
Chemotherapy is known for its side effects that include hair loss, extreme fatigue and nausea and also loss of appetite. This is because the drugs will not only kill the cancer cells but also harm the healthy cells. As a result, patients usually opt for this treatment as the last option.
Prostate cancer cells feed on a male hormone called Androgens. So, to slow down the growth rate of the cancer cells, hormone therapy is used to reduce the levels of androgens in the patients’ body. When the cancer cells don’t get enough “food”, it will start shrinking gradually.
Even though hormone therapy cannot really cure prostate cancer, there are some situations where it becomes the most feasible treatment for the patients. Usually, doctors will propose this treatment if the patients are too old or too weak to handle chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Furthermore, it is also often used alongside other treatments, like radiation, to make the treatment more effective.
When the treatment ends, patients still need to regularly see their doctor even after they have declared cancer free. Follow-up visits are important to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back and the patients can stay healthy.