Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: You or someone you care about may have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This video will help you understand some of the main treatment options available. Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that forms in a man's prostate gland. Most prostate tumors grow slowly, compared to other types of cancer. You and your doctor will decide your treatment based on several factors. These factors include the grade and stage of your cancer, your health and medical history, and your age. There may be other factors that are important to you and your family. The treatments for prostate cancer may include active surveillance, prostatectomy surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. Active surveillance means frequent doctor visits to closely monitor any growth or changes in your prostate. During these visits, your doctor will feel your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your rectum. This is called a digital rectal exam. In addition, a blood test will be done to check the level of a substance in your blood called PSA. Men with prostate cancer often have a higher PSA blood level. Sometimes, active surveillance means your doctor will take a biopsy of your prostate. During a biopsy, your doctor will remove prostate tissue samples through the rectum with a needle. You may need to have surgery, called prostatectomy to remove your prostate gland. Another treatment called radiation therapy, uses radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. In external beam radiation, a machine aims radiation from outside your body to the prostate. In contrast, internal radiation uses pieces of radioactive material placed within the tumor. Hormone therapy is another treatment for prostate cancer. It affects certain substances made by your body called hormones. Prostate cancer needs these hormones to grow. Hormone therapy drugs can prevent cancer growth in two ways. First, the drugs can block the action of the one or more hormones on your prostate. Second, the drugs can block or reduce the amount of hormones made by your body. Immuno-oncology, also known as immunotherapy, helps your immune system fight cancer. For example, one treatment uses certain immune cells taken from your body. These cells are grown in the lab and given a vaccine that makes them more active. Then the activated immune cells are returned to your body to help attack cancer cells. Your doctor may prescribe other treatments than the ones described here. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your prescribed medication or have any side effects. Be sure to take your medications as directed by your doctor.