Introduction

One of the most common questions I hear coming from prostate cancer patients is ‘What’s the best treatment option?’ This is an important question, and one that should be answered based on your unique medical situation.

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Diagnosis and Staging

After a prostate cancer diagnosis, the next steps are to determine the cancer stage and decide on a treatment option. Prostate cancer diagnoses are categorized into low, intermediate, and high-risk. Your doctor will determine the category based on several tests, including a biopsy.

Stage I (Low-risk)

  • Tumor is confined to one side of the prostate
  • PSA score is less than 10
  • Gleason score is 6 or less

Stage IIA (Intermediate-risk)

  • Tumor fills half of the prostate on examination
  • OR PSA score is between 10-20
  • OR Gleason score is 7

Stage IIB (High-risk)

  • Tumor is on both sides of prostate
  • OR PSA score is over 20
  • OR Gleason score is between 8-10

Stage III

  • Tumor extends out of the prostate

Stage IV

  • Lymph nodes are impacted by tumor

After your doctor has determined the stage of your prostate cancer, he or she will then help you decide on an appropriate form of treatment.

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Treatment Options

There are many treatment options available. The majority of patients with prostate cancer have a very good chance of being cured with surgery, radiation therapy, seed implants, or proton therapy. The correct treatment is the one that provides you with the desired outcome and highest possible quality of life post-treatment.

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Side Effects and Quality of Life

Each patient should take into consideration the different side effects associated with different treatment types before deciding on a treatment course. For example, patients who undergo radioactive seed implant are slightly radioactive after treatment, and should avoid contact with children or pregnant women. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, surgery may not be the best option due to the stress on the body and increased risk of complications. It’s important to discuss different treatment options with your doctor, and select the one that’s right for your unique situation.

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Proton Therapy

Recently, several studies have shown that proton therapy is an especially effective prostate cancer treatment method, and one that causes few long-term side effects.

This year, the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) published a survey that found that for low and intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy, 97% reported no recurrences of the disease. A 2014 University of Florida study found that 99% of similar patients were cancer-free after 5 years.

While other treatment options can impact urinary and bowel function, proton therapy patients in the NAPT study showed almost no urinary or bowel symptoms when compared to control group members who never received treatment. The University of Florida study reported no patients who experienced permanent incontinence or rectal side effects, which can occur with other treatment forms.

In the NAPT study, 98% of respondents believed they had selected the best treatment option.

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Conclusion

The best treatment course for your prostate cancer is one that takes into account your personal medical situation and quality of life requirements. Based on recent studies involving prostate cancer patients, proton therapy should be strongly considered when exploring treatment options due to few side effects and very high survival rates.

Request more information or call 877.887.5807 to learn if you can benefit from proton therapy.

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