Generally speaking, there are two main approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer. A surgical procedure called “radical prostatectomy” where a surgeon removes the prostate and radiation therapy where a radiation oncologist uses X-rays or other types of radiation to target the prostate precisely from outside or inside the body.
For many years, anecdotes and personal experience where used to compare the effectiveness of radiation therapy and surgery. Even though multiple retrospective studies suggested there were no differences in well selected patients receiving either treatment, skepticism regarding the effectiveness of radiation compared to surgery persists.
Well, everything is about to change.
In September 2016, a landmark study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “10-Year Outcomes after Monitoring, Surgery, or Radiotherapy for Localized Prostate Cancer”. This randomized trial was designed to compare surgery to radiation.
THE RESULTS ARE IN!
After 10 years of follow-up, there were no differences in the rates of cancer spreading or death from prostate cancer in men receiving radiation or surgery. In short, the results are equal when comparing surgery to radiation therapy. The results of this trial suggest that men can now choose what prostate cancer treatment to receive based on the side effects they are willing to tolerate since treatments are equally effective.
SURGERY FOR PROSTATE CANCER.
During prostate surgery, the urethra which carries urine from the bladder through the penis has to be cut and reconnected. This means all men having surgery will have incontinence immediately after surgery. It gets better over time and usually resolves in 3-4 months in most men. Some men will continue to wear urinary pads because they may leak urine occasionally during coughing or sneezing and do so for convenience. Prostate surgery is also invasive and associated with impotence when nerves controlling sexual function cannot be spared.
RADIATION THERAPY FOR PROSTATE CANCER.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer can take many forms. In many cases treatment is completely non-invasive, without any cutting, anesthesia or bleeding. Side effects are mild and typically include increased urination and increased urge to urinate. These symptoms are temporary and disappear very quickly following the conclusion of treatment.
At Precision Radiation Oncology, we are experts in the treatment of prostate cancer including using the CyberKnife robotic system to dramatically decrease radiation treatment from 8-9 to weeks of treatment to just 5 treatments over a few days. This revolutionary prostate cancer treatment was first used to treat prostate cancer in 2003 and multiple institutions have shown this treatment to be effective and in many cases superior to conventional treatment over 8 weeks.
Contact us to find out how we can help.