You have cancer is perhaps one of the most frightening things anyone can hear. Each year, about 175,000 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. The most common question asked on diagnosis is,
“How is prostate cancer treated?”
Fortunately, if the cancer has not spread, the prognosis is good. In fact, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer in early stages is near 100%. So, what are the treatments?
Three Common Treatments for Prostate Cancer
As one of the most treatable cancers, there are three ways to attack prostate cancer in patients. These are surgery, radiation therapy, and simply watching it.
- Prostate Surgery – When the cancer is large enough to warrant removal of the prostate, a surgeon will perform a prostatectomy. In some cases, removal of the surrounding tissue will also be performed. This is called a radical prostatectomy.
- Radiation Therapy – By using high-energy radiation, the cancer can be killed. This may be done via external means much like getting an x-ray or via internal means. The internal radiation therapy is called brachytherapy. This is a Nuclear Medicine procedure in which radioactive pellets are inserted into the patient near the cancer.
- Active Prostate Surveillance – If the prostate cancer is small, your physician may instead choose to simply watch it. Sometimes, this cancer either does not grow or cause any symptoms. And if it does grow, the other therapies can then be performed. Two of the key elements to this approach are the PSA and DRE tests.
About PSA and DRE Tests
The DRE is Digital Rectal Exam. This is traditional finger (digit) inserted exam which allows your physician to feel the size of the prostate. The PSA is a pathological test using a blood sample. The PSA, or prostate specific antigen test measures the level of the PSA, which is a protein. If this protein is elevated, it is a strong indicator of prostate cancer or that the cancer has grown to a point where intervention is needed.
What is a dangerous PSA level?
A PSA between 0 and 2.5 ng/mL is viewed as a safe range, but anything above that would be cause to speak to your doctor. A dangerous PSA level is above 10.0 ng/mL. Although not definite, there is a 50% chance of prostate cancer at this level.
How can I lower my PSA level quickly?
Whether high PSA levels lead to prostate cancer or are a marker for it remains a matter of research. Yet, it is possible that by lowering your PSA you can reduce your risk. Whether true or not remains to be seen, but there are natural ways to lower PSA.
Eating more tomatoes, especially cooked, can increase lycopene and lower PSA levels. Healthy protein sources like fish, chicken, and soy helps. Drinking green tea has been found to help as has taking vitamin D supplements (or simply getting more sunlight).
Finally, regular exercise and finding ways to reduce stress both can help lower PSA levels. Of course, you may notice that all these suggestions are ways to better health for men. So lower levels or not, doing these will help you be healthier.
Can Prostate Cancer be Cured?
Of all the cancers, prostate is among those with the greatest chance of a cure. This is especially so when discovered in early stages, which is why early detection is so important.
If you have not yet done so, we recommend reading September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. There you will learn how to spot the early signs and symptoms.
What is the Most Effective Treatment for Prostate Cancer?
Determining the most effective treatment for your prostate cancer is important. What works for one patient may not work for another. After tests are complete and you have been thoroughly examined, you will discuss the best options. Playing a role in the decision will be
- what is happening with your PSA levels
- whether the cancer has spread
- your personal health history
- current medical conditions
- the cancer stage
The most effective treatment is of the utmost importance. Together, you and your Kymera oncology team will decide on the best path forward. If you believe you may have prostate cancer or would just like to get your PSA levels checked, please request an appointment today.