Friday, June 9, 2017

Prostate Cancer: Is Radiation the Treatment for You?

WARNING: The views and/or opinions about Prostate Cancer and treatments are mine and mine alone. I am not a doctor or health care professional. I am just one man recording his experience with Prostate Cancer in the hopes it may help some one facing the same decision I faced.

As I mentioned in the last post, there are three major treatments for prostate cancer: Surgery, Radiation and Active Surveillance. I outline the pros and cons of surgery (Radical Prostatectomy). Today I'd like to provide you with somw information on radiation as a viable treatment to cure prostate cancer.

There are two forms of radiation: External Beam and  Brachytherapy (internal radiation). External radiation basically is bombardment of the prostate with radiation waves. Usually this is performed five days a week for eight weeks. There are several types of external radiation available and as with all treatments these procedures are constantly being refined and approved.

Internal Radiation or Brachytherapy involves place radioactive seeds in the prostate. Pellets (seeds) of radioactive material (such as iodine-125 or palladium-103) are placed inside thin needles, which are inserted through the skin in the area between the scrotum and anus and into the prostate. Ouch!

Usually 100 seeds are placed in the area depending on the size of the prostate.

The possible side effects of both of these treatments are the same as with surgery. Except with the addition of bowel problems. Inmy experience talking to guys who have had these treatments everyone of them has experienced and/or is experiencing urinary problems (leakage) and erection problems.

The only advantage with the seeds is you don't have to give up eight weeks of your life getting zapped five days a week.

I should point out one other issue and that is, as I understand it that once you have undergone radiation and the cancer comes back surgery is not an option.

Radiacal Prostectomy  on the other hand carries the same risks as any surgery and the recover period can extend over sevearl weeks/months.

For me one of the biggest side effects was/is fatigue. Usually this is common with radiation, but after my surgery I found that I tired easily and needed naps. Now I realize I'm 70+ years old and at this age I can expect some slowing down, but for me the change was pretty dramatic, like turning off a switch. So bear in mind that whatever procedure you choose It will affect your lifestyle.

Also the "cure" rate on all these treatments is about the same.

Please don't use this article as your sole source of info. Do your research, talk to your doctor and partner and make the decision  that best suits your age, progression of cancer and health.

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