Anyone hearing the news “you have cancer” naturally assumes removing it as soon as possible is the best course of action. In the case of prostate cancer, however, sometimes watching and waiting is the best advice.
Here at Kasraeian Urology in Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Drs. Ahmad and Ali Kasraeian offer state-of-the-art treatment to address a wide range of urinary and prostate issues. They provide personalized care and individualized treatment plans in a caring, supportive environment.
While getting a prostate cancer diagnosis is scary, the statistics are hopeful. Almost 100% of men with localized (only in the prostate) and regional (cancer in the prostate and nearby structures or lymph nodes) prostate cancer survive for at least five years. In some cases, treatment — or treatment right away — may not even be necessary.
The stage of prostate cancer helps determine treatment
Determining the cancer’s stage, including if it has spread and how far, is one of the biggest keys to consider in deciding on a treatment. Factors used to figure out the stage include:
- Size or extent of the main tumor
- If it has spread to lymph nodes nearby
- If it has spread to other areas in the body
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level as determined by a blood test
Another assessment that helps stage the cancer is the Gleason score. It looks at how abnormal the cancer cells appear under a microscope to help determine how quickly they could grow and spread.
Other factors to consider
The cancer’s stage isn’t the only consideration when making treatment decisions, however. Other things to take into account include your age and overall health as well as your personal preferences.
For example, if you have a slow-growing cancer and you’re old with other serious health problems, you might view prostate cancer as more of a chronic disease rather than something likely to lead to your death. Men in this situation may choose to simply monitor the cancer instead of undergoing treatment right away. This approach is typically considered when the tumor is small, only in the prostate, isn’t causing any symptoms, and is expected to grow slowly.
Men who are typically encouraged to undergo treatment are healthy younger men, those with fast-growing cancer, or men whose cancer has spread outside the prostate.
Some treatments have possible side effects, such as incontinence, bowel issues, and erection problems, so some men may choose to delay treatment as long as possible to avoid these issues. Others place their priority on removing the cancer.
Making your own decision about prostate cancer treatment
Talking with family and friends can help in the decision-making process. Although every man’s status and journey is different, discussing the pros and cons with other men who have been in the same situation may be helpful, too.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, call one of our offices or click to book an appointment with Drs. Ahmad or Ali Kasraeian to discuss your options.