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Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

Did you know that men with prostate cancer now have four treatment options? According to Simeon Margolis, MD, PhD, of Yahoo! Health, there’s “watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation and implantation of radioactive seeds” to the prostate. Of the four treatment options, which among them is the best?

Watchful waiting or doing nothing but getting exams and blood PSA tests is, according to Dr. Margolis, best for men at least 65 years old and undergoing “early-stage, moderate prostate cancer.” However, this is not a good option for older men with higher-grade cancer.

According to Dr. Margolis, only 5 percent of older men suffering from low-grade cancer died from their illness, while more than 80 percent have survived for at least 10 years or died from non-cancer-related causes.

As for younger men, there may be difficulty deciding which treatment option is best. According to an article published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the reason behind it is that it is difficult to compare treatments. The effectiveness and complications of each treatment vary among different observational studies, as well. In addition, determining the differences with respect to the cancer spread and the survival rate for prostate cancer may also take many years.

All treatment options, however, may have some complications, the most common of which include impotence and incontinence (or urinary leakage). But the findings about complications also have conflicting conclusions.

One study showed that incontinence was likely to occur after external radiation or radical prostatectomy. On the other hand, another study revealed that incontinence is more frequent after a radical prostatectomy rather than external radiation. Impotence, however, is common in all options post-treatment, particularly after radical prostatectomy.

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