Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among Indian men. Until recently, prostate cancer was more common in men aged 60 and older. However, occasionally we come across patients between the ages of 35 and 45.
The increasing incidence of prostate cancer is concerning but, on the bright side, we also have advanced treatment options available for the management of prostate cancer.
Many years ago, the treatments available for prostate cancer were limited and often came with side effects like sexual dysfunction (impotence) or loss of bladder control (incontinence). However, this is no longer the case – thanks to consistent research and innovation happening in the field of prostate cancer management, especially robotic surgery.
For the best treatment, it is important to opt for a cancer treatment centre that has excellent diagnostic and treatment support in terms of advanced treatment options, an experienced team of cancer specialists, and high-end technology facilities.
What are the Different Treatment Options Available for Prostate cancer?
Before administering prostate cancer treatment, cancer specialists consider multiple factors, which include the type of prostate cancer, the stage of the disease, the disease grade, the patient’s age, the patient’s overall condition, and lastly, the patient’s preferences. Based on these factors, various treatments are available for the management of prostate cancer:
Localised Prostate cancer is confined to the gland alone. In such cases, localized treatments like surgery and radiation therapy will be recommended to manage the condition:
- Surgery: Surgery aims to remove the entire gland, seminal vesicles and surrounding lymph nodes, depending on the extent of the disease. Depending on the case, both open and minimally-invasive surgeries (Robotic or Laparoscopic) can be recommended.
- Radiation Therapy: This treatment approach involves destroying cancer cells using high-energy radiation beams. Radiation treatment can be delivered either internally or externally. During internal beam radiation therapy, the radiation source is placed into the prostate close to the tumour, and the radiation beams emitted through this source will destroy the tumour cells. During external beam radiation therapy, radiation beams are delivered through an external source. Both approaches are effective in managing prostate cancer.
Systemic therapy refers to the treatment that aims to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. These are generally recommended in advanced prostate cancer treatment. Some of the commonly available systemic therapies include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to destroy tumour cells throughout the body.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by stimulating the patient’s immune system to identify and attack cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy for prostate cancer works by interfering with the production of the male hormone, testosterone. This treatment either halts the cancer cell production or delays the disease’s progression.
Surveillance & Watchful Waiting
Surveillance and watchful waiting can also recommended for the management of prostate cancer. These approaches involve close monitoring of the disease. There is no treatment administration involved. Doctors may recommend various tests to study the disease’s progression, and when the results are suggestive of progression or when the disease starts causing symptoms, treatment will be recommended.
How are Prostate cancer Treatments Evolving?
Surgeries Becoming Minimally Invasive: Today, we can operate on prostate cancers through minimally invasive surgeries. The common minimally-invasive surgeries available for prostate cancer management include laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery. During minimally invasive surgeries, doctors make smaller incisions to access the tumour and remove it completely.
Robotic surgery provides enhanced 3D vision with 10-40X magnification, superior dexterity and precision using the Endo-Wrist technology. Surgeons are able to preserve vital structures like nerves using NeuroSAFE technique and urinary sphincter to unsure patients retain sexual function and continence. There is minimal tissue damage, blood loss and pain, bringing down the risk of infections and various other treatment-related complications, and, lastly, supporting faster recovery and a better quality of life.
Patients undergoing these surgeries do not require lengthy hospitalizations and get back to work more quickly.
Radiation Treatments Becoming More Precise: Targeting tumours through radiation therapy is a lot easier now. Today, we have advanced radiation therapy platforms to precisely target the tumour and deliver the radiation beam towards it.
Across the network of HCG Cancer Hospital, we have multiple high-end radiation therapy platforms, such as the Ethos Adaptive Radiation Therapy platform, CyberKnife Whole-body Robotic Radiosurgery platform, Versa HD Radiation Therapy platform, Tomotherapy platform, TrueBeam, VitalBeam Radiation Therapy platform, etc. These platforms allow radiation oncologists to precisely locate the tumour, accurately plan the dose, and accordingly facilitate the radiation delivery.
Another advanced feature of these high-end radiation therapy platforms is that they can track the anatomical changes seen in the patients throughout the treatment course, and accordingly make changes to the treatment plan and dosages. This way, oncologists can ensure that prostate cancer patients are receiving radiation therapy with the highest level of precision. The adaptive treatment delivered in such a way positively impacts treatment efficacy and also helps reduce treatment-related side effects.
Systemic Therapies Becoming More Target-oriented: Along with chemotherapy, we have multiple target-specific systemic therapies available for prostate cancer, and they are, PSMA labelled Lutetium or Actinium therapy, and immunotherapy. These approaches help to effectively assist patients in achieving remission.
Unlike in the past, we now understand newer aspects of chemotherapy. Researchers have discovered new drugs, new drug combinations, and new ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs. These discoveries have made chemotherapy more tolerable than ever.
Making Prostate cancer Treatment Effective
With the latest treatment approaches, we are able to treat prostate cancer in a better way—there are no two ways about that. However, there are a few more things that play a pivotal role in making prostate cancer treatment effective.
Early detection and timely treatment become immensely important when it comes to the successful management of prostate cancer. Since the risk of prostate cancer increases with age, it is important for men aged 50 and older to consider regular prostate cancer screening, which involves a simple blood test.
Regular prostate cancer screening can help in the early detection and diagnosis of this condition, which is important for the timely treatment of prostate cancer. Apart from opting for regular screening, it is also important for men to be mindful of different prostate cancer symptoms, and promptly see a prostate cancer specialist when something is not normal.
Genetic analysis is evolving rapidly and helps in identifying specific genetic mutations in patients and assessing risk of prostate cancer in the next generation. This helps doctors to decide the best systemic therapy and sequencing treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer management has become extremely effective today. The research and innovation happening consistently have made it possible for oncologists to treat prostate cancer patients with multiple treatment options while reducing the risk of any long-lasting side effects for them and helping them lead a normal and healthy life after the treatment.
Over the years, HCG has grown to become one of the best prostate cancer hospitals, and it excels at offering superior diagnostic and treatment support to prostate cancer patients and putting them a step ahead of cancer.