Prostate cancer is slow developing and has a great survival rate. For example, the 5-year survival rate is 99% and the 15-year survival rate is 96%. If you have been diagnosed with this type of cancer, you will have different treatment options available to you, depending on the stage of your prostate cancer. Three of these treatment options are listed below:
If the prostate cancer is in the beginning stages then your doctor may suggest hormone therapy. Prostate cancer uses a hormone known as testosterone to help it grow. Prostate cancer hormone therapy will reduce the amount of testosterone in your body so the cancer will slow down or completely stop growing. There are some side effects associated with hormone therapy, such as low libido, fatigue, weight gain, and profuse sweating, especially at night while you are sleeping. Depression is another common symptom of this type of hormone therapy. If you have this, the doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or suggest you see a therapist for treatment.
These symptoms do go away when the hormone therapy treatment is finished. Your doctor will decide how long you need to take these hormones.
If your prostate cancer is in the later stages, your doctor will likely suggest a radical prostatectomy. With this treatment, you will have a surgery in which the doctor will remove your prostate gland, which is where the cancer is located.
There are side effects of a radical prostatectomy, including the following:
- Erectile dysfunction: You will not be able to have an erection in the time immediately after the surgery, which generally lasts for approximately 12 weeks. After this time, you may have problems having a full erection, but there are medications you can take to help you with this problem.
- Urinary problems: Urinary problems include incontinence, unable to control urine, or painful urination. These side effects will go away a few weeks or months after surgery.
There may be other side effects for this type of surgery, which your doctor can discuss with you.
After the surgery you may have to have chemotherapy for a certain amount of time. Once the chemotherapy is over, the doctor will ask you to come back for a scan to ensure the cancer cells are completely gone. If they are not, the doctor will ask you to do another round of chemotherapy.
There are side effects of chemotherapy including:
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Easy bruising
These symptoms will go away once the chemotherapy treatment is finished.
Talk with your doctor about these treatment options to learn more.