If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you want to know your prostate cancer treatment options. At KCUC Urology and Oncology, we treat more prostate cancer patients than anyone else in the KC area. The good news is that even though roughly 13% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, only 2-3% will die from it. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer. There are many types of treatment for prostate cancer. You and your doctor will be able to decide which options are best for your individual case. Hopefully, this overview will help you understand your options.
MRI Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy for Accurate Diagnoses
The first step in determining prostate cancer instances is an accurate diagnosis. At KCUC, our radiologists use a state-of-the-art MRI examination called an MRI Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy to identify potentially suspicious areas. MRI images are sent to a device that blends (fuses) those images with ultrasound images to create a detailed 3-D image of the prostate that makes it easier to see abnormal areas of tissue inside. Doctors use this image to guide them when taking a biopsy (sample of the tissue) in the area in question. This greatly enhances the accuracy of the procedure.
7 Categories of Treatment for Cancer
There are plenty of ways to treat prostate cancer. It’s important to note that the appropriate treatment for prostate cancer depends on various factors such as the stage and grade of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and personal preferences. Your healthcare team will consider these factors and discuss the potential risks and benefits of each treatment option with you.
Radiation is a more targeted approach which specifically focuses on the area where the tumor or cancer resides. Radiation may make more sense for particular types of cancer that are affecting smaller areas. Radiation therapy uses invisible bursts of energy to damage the DNA of the tumor, making it unable to grow new cells and spread. Because the beams of energy are aimed specifically at the area where the cancer is in the body, it is called a “local” type of treatment. Radiation therapy can be combined with surgery or chemotherapy and usually begins after the surgery or chemotherapy treatments are completed.
X-ray (Photon) Radiation
The most common type of radiation is X-ray or photon radiation. X-ray radiation is highly penetrating and can attack tumors deep inside the body with very little effect on superficial tissues when that is the goal. It can also treat tumors in or near the skin.
At KCUC, we offer the Varian RapidArc™ radiotherapy system. RapidArc™ is a new approach to delivering image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT). Image guidance improves tumor targeting, and IMRT shapes the radiation dose so that it conforms closely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor. That means more radiation is delivered to the tumor and less to surrounding healthy tissues. RapidArc™ is also fast, making daily radiation treatments easier for the patient. KCUC is proud to be Kansas City’s first provider of RapidArc™ and the only office-based provider.
Proton therapy uses proton beams instead of photon rays. The biggest advantage compared to traditional or photon therapy is that proton therapy focuses more energy on the tumor itself with less radiation to surrounding tissue. Proton therapy is becoming more popular and well-known, with over 40 regional proton therapy centers in the U.S. and more under construction. Our Kansas City Proton Institute is scheduled to open in the winter of 2023/2024. Radiation treatments are painless, but side effects can include fatigue, skin redness, and hair loss around the part of the body being treated.
A prostatectomy is surgery to remove the prostate gland. This usually entails the removal of the entire prostate due to prostate cancer. The vast majority of
prostatectomies are done via a robotic approach. Small incisions are made in the abdomen where long slender instruments are docked to a robot which is controlled by your surgeon. The surgery lasts around 3 hours and typically requires an overnight hospitalization.
Surgery can accommodate a “nerve-sparing” procedure in select patients which includes carefully dissecting the erectile nerves away from the prostate during removal. This helps reduce the chances of erectile dysfunction and incontinence after surgery.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to boost the immune system and help the body find and destroy cancer cells. At KCUC, we offer Provenge. Provenge is a type of “cellular immunotherapy”. With Provenge, we take cells from the patient, activate them, and then return them to the patient’s body, thus boosting the immune system to target and attack the cancer cells and keep them from spreading further. Provenge therapy can be completed in about a month with only three infusions.
Chemotherapy drugs can be used to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. This treatment is typically employed in advanced stages of prostate cancer or when other treatments have not been effective. Side effects of chemotherapy can include nausea, fatigue, and hair loss.
5. Active Surveillance
This approach is suitable for patients with low-risk prostate cancer that appears to be growing slowly. Instead of immediate treatment, your doctor will closely monitor your condition with regular check-ups, blood tests, and biopsies. If there are signs of disease progression, active treatment may be recommended.
6. Targeted Therapy
Focal therapy is a targeted treatment approach for prostate cancer that aims to treat only the cancerous areas within the prostate while preserving healthy tissue. It involves delivering focused energy, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) or cryotherapy, to destroy cancer cells in specific regions of the prostate. Focal therapy is typically considered for patients with localized prostate cancer and can provide a potential middle ground between active surveillance and more aggressive treatments like surgery or radiation therapy.
7. Hormone Therapy
Prostate cancer cells often depend on male hormones, particularly testosterone, for growth. Hormone therapy aims to reduce the level of testosterone in the body or block its effects on cancer cells. It can be achieved through medications or surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy).
Get a Prostate Cancer Second Opinion at KCUC
We encourage men diagnosed with prostate cancer to come to KCUC. We treat more prostate cancer in the KC area than anyone else. If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, pursuing a second opinion can validate your current diagnosis. In fact, most physicians recommend a second opinion. See us for a second opinion on your prostate cancer diagnosis and explore your prostate cancer treatment options.