prostate cancer treatment side effects

prostate cancer treatment side effects

How long does it take to recover from radiation treatment for prostate cancer?

What are the long-term effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer?

What is the success rate of radiation therapy for prostate cancer?
Can you ever be cured of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer treatment side effects
There are side effects from each treatment for prostate cancer. Just as prostate cancer varies from man to man the side effects experienced will vary from man to man. Fortunately, physicians work hard to ensure you will experience minimal side effects as a result of treatment. The most common side effects of treatment are urinary incontinence (the inability to control your bladder) and erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve a full erection). These potential changes can impact your self-esteem and personal relationships. Before deciding on a treatment, talk with your doctor and learn about possible side effects and how you would work together to manage these challenges.
Common side effects:
Surgery (prostatectomy)
• Erection problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry orgasm
• Urine leakage during sex
• Infertility
• Urinary problems
• Fatigue

EBRT
• Erection problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry orgasm
• Infertility
• Urinary problems
• Bowel problems
• Fatigue
• Skin irritation

Brachytherapy
• Erection problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry orgasm
• Infertility
• Urinary problems

ADT
• Erection problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry orgasm
• Infertility
• Bowel problems
• Fatigue
• Hot flushes
• Osteoporosis
• Heart problems
• Breast growth
• Mood swings

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How long does it take to recover from radiation treatment for prostate cancer?

After completing external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), urinary and bowel side effects may persist for two to six weeks, but they will improve over time. You may need to continue some medications. Some patients report continued, though lessening fatigue for several weeks after treatment. Most side effects generally go away within a few weeks to 2 months of finishing treatment. But some side effects may continue after treatment is over because it takes time for healthy cells to recover from the effects of radiation therapy. Late side effects can happen months or years after treatment.

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What are the long-term effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer?

Late effects can happen months to years after cancer treatment has ended. The risk of late effects depends on the areas included in the field of radiation and the radiation techniques that were used. Some of the potential late effects of radiation to the prostate include:

  • Most men will be sterile after radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Talk to your oncology team about sperm banking if you wish to have a child in the future. 
  • Erectile dysfunction or dry orgasm can occur after radiation therapy. For some men, medications or other treatments can help. A couple’s therapist can also help you and your partner cope with these changes in your relationship.
  • Bladder problems, like incontinence (not being able to hold your urine in), hemorrhagic cystitis (causes blood in the urine), urinary tract infections, and bladder cancer may happen. If you notice any changes in your bathroom habits or urine, contact your provider.
  • Gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) problems can include strictures, blood in the stool, chronic diarrhea, and colon cancer.
  • There is a low risk of developing a second cancer in or near the radiation field. These are called secondary cancers, and they happen because of the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation. Modern radiation techniques are designed to limit this exposure.
  • Lymphedema, which is swelling, can occur if the lymph nodes have been damaged. If you notice any new swelling in your groin, legs, or feet, call your provider right away. 
  • You might have permanent skin changes in the area that was exposed to radiation. 

You may not have any side effects or late effects of radiation treatment. But if you do, it is important that you speak to your provider about how to best manage these side effects. After treatment, talk with your oncology team about receiving a survivorship care plan, which can help you manage the transition to survivorship and learn about life after cancer.

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What is the success rate of radiation therapy for prostate cancer?

radiation therapy is as effective, or even better, than other common treatment options such as surgery or brachytherapy. Men with localised prostate cancer who are treated with external-beam radiation therapy have a cure rate of 95.5% for intermediate-risk prostate cancer and 91.3% for high-risk prostate cancer.

The 5-year survival rate using this treatment is 98.8% overall. When compared to other common treatment options such as surgery or brachytherapy, external-beam was as effective and in some cases more effective.

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Can you ever be cured of prostate cancer?

prostate cancer can be cured, when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases (more than 90 percent) are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment. Treatment doesn't always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy, either. Treatments may slow or shrink an advanced prostate cancer, but for most men, stage 4 prostate cancer isn't curable. Still, treatments can extend your life and reduce the signs and symptoms of cancer.

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10 common question about prostate cancer treatment side effects

1What are the long term effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer?
Long-term Complications These may include proctitis (rectal inflammation), cystitis (bladder inflammation), urinary or rectal bleeding, narrowing of the rectum or urethra, chronic diarrhea or urinary frequency or urgency, or development of an ulcer in the rectum. All of these can be treated.
2How long do prostate radiation side effects last?
two to six weeks After completing external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), urinary and bowel side effects may persist for two to six weeks, but they will improve over time.
3What is the most effective treatment for prostate cancer?
ASCO recommends the following brachytherapy options: Men with low-risk prostate cancer who need or choose an active treatment may consider low-dose-rate brachytherapy. Other options include external-beam radiation therapy or a radical prostatectomy.
4Can you ever be cured of prostate cancer?
The short answer is yes, prostate cancer can be cured, when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases (more than 90 percent) are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment. Treatment doesn't always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy, either.
5Can prostate cancer come back after radiation?
A recurrence means that the prostate cancer has not been cured by the initial treatment. ... After radiation therapy, PSA levels usually drop to a stable and low level. If PSA levels begin to rise at any time after treatment, a local or distant recurrence may be occurring, requiring additional testing.
6Is Radiation better than surgery for prostate cancer?
Radiation therapy or surgery may be used to treat your prostate cancer. ... Radiation therapy is more likely to cause bowel problems. Surgery is more likely to cause leaking urine or erection problems. If your goal is to treat the cancer by having your prostate removed, then you may want to choose surgery.
7How long does it take for PSA to go down after radiation?
After radiotherapy or brachytherapy, your PSA should drop to its lowest level (nadir) after 18 months to two years. Your PSA level won't fall to zero as your healthy prostate cells will continue to produce some PSA.
8Does radiation destroy the prostate?
Since radiation therapy does not destroy the entire prostate gland, the PSA falls slowly and only rarely to undetectable levels.
9How serious is a Gleason score of 7?
The higher the Gleason Score, the more likely that the cancer will grow and spread quickly. Scores of 6 or less describe cancer cells that look similar to normal cells and suggest that the cancer is likely to grow slowly. A score of 7 suggests and intermediate risk for aggressive cancer.
10What is a dangerous PSA level?
The following are some general PSA level guidelines: 0 to 2.5 ng/mL is considered safe. 2.6 to 4 ng/mL is safe in most men but talk with your doctor about other risk factors. 4.0 to 10.0 ng/mL is suspicious and might suggest the possibility of prostate cancer.

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