Prostate cancer therapies available include watchful waiting, cryotherapy (using very cold temperatures to kill cancer; learn more at urologytimes.modernmedicine.com), Radiation therapy (using high-dose x rays or other forms of energy kill cancer), Hormone therapy (taking hormones to suppress or stop cancer growth by eliminating testosterone), Chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer) and brachytherapy.
If cancer has spread beyond the prostate, chemotherapy and radiation therapy might be used. Surgery to remove the cancer,which can be done using conventional surgical techniques, or using the daVinci robotic machine; For more information about the technology used, please visit www.davinciprostatectomy.com and www.intuitivesurgical.com
Cryoablation technology uses ice to freeze tumors. The ice created for cryoablation procedures is colder than 100 degrees Celcius below zero and can destroy cancer tissue very efficiently. This ice can also be targeted very precisely so that it can be used to destroy a kidney cancer while preserving normal kidney and the normal structures that are near to the kidney.
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Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
A needle-like RFA probe is placed inside the tumor. Radiofrequency waves passing through the probe increase the temperature within tumor tissue that results in destruction of the tumor. Generally RFA is used to treat patients with small tumors that started within the organ (primary tumors) or that spread to the organ (metastasis).
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Immunotherapy & Vaccine Therapies
Immunotherapy works with the body’s immune system to fight cancer and other diseases. There are many types of biologic therapy. A family of drugs called cytokines has become a standard treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. 10 to 20% of patients taking cytokines experience cancer shrinkage to less than half of its original size. The small percent of patients who respond well to therapy tend to experience lasting results.
The side effects of biologic therapy vary depending on the person treated and the type of therapy given. They may include, but are not limited to:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Lowered blood pressure
- Severe fatigue
Chemotherapy & Radiation Therapy
For patients whose health is too poor to undergo surgery radiation therapy is sometimes used. In this therapy, high-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells. It is also sometimes used as a palliative therapy to ease the symptoms of renal cancer. Renal cell carcinomas, unfortunately, are not very sensitive to radiation.
The side effects of radiation therapy vary from one person to another and there is no certain way of knowing who may or may not have side effects, what they will be, or when they might occur. Some of the common side effects of radiation therapy are:
- Skin irritation similar to sunburn
Hormone therapy consists of taking hormones to suppress or stop cancer growth by eliminating testosterone
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