Types of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is one of most common types of cancer diagnosed in men. In fact, about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The good news is that most cases of prostate cancer, especially if they’re caught early, are treatable. Although there are different types of prostate cancer, almost all prostate cancers begin in the gland cells.
How Most Prostate Cancer Types Develop
In the prostate, cancer starts as a microscopic change to the prostate gland cells. These changes are called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), and almost half of all men have them by age 50. If PINs are barely noticeable, doctors typically observe patients without starting treatment. However, when doctors notice high-grade PINs, they know that the patient has a higher chance of developing one of the different types of prostate cancer.
For patients who ask, “What type of cancer is prostate cancer?” the most common answer is adenocarcinoma, though there are rarer types including carcinoid and small-cell cancer. Adenocarcinomas develop within the gland cells, and, fortunately, they tend to grow slowly. In most cases, doctors take a “watch and wait” approach. However, if adenocarcinomas spread to other parts of the prostate, or if they spread to other parts of the body, doctors will choose more aggressive forms of treatment.
Types of Prostate Cancer Treatment in Los Angeles
Doctors use different forms of treatment depending on how far the prostate cancer has advanced and how healthy the patient is. Treatments include medications, chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy for prostate cancer.
Different types of prostate cancer benefit from hormone therapy in different ways. For men with advanced tumors, blocking testosterone can help to shrink cancerous tumors and to keep cancer cells from spreading. For prostate cancer in its early stages, doctors might use hormones to shrink tumors before starting radiation therapy. However, hormone therapy does produce side effects, including erectile dysfunction, weight gain, lower libido, and hot flashes.
Prostate removal surgery might become necessary with advanced types of prostate cancer. However, prostate removal can damage the sensitive nerves in the prostate area, which can cause urinary and sexual dysfunction. Doctors remove the prostate using a few different surgical methods:
- An incision in the abdomen. Through an incision in the abdomen, doctors can remove the prostate. This technique helps to decrease the potential for nerve damage, but it requires a longer recovery period.
- Perineal surgery. Doctors can remove the prostate by making an incision in the perineum, which is the area between the scrotum and the anus. Although this type of surgery allows for faster recovery than an abdominal incision, it carries a higher risk for nerve damage.
- Robotic surgery. Using a robot to control surgical instruments, surgeons can make extremely precise movements that protect the prostate nerves from damage. Surgeons sit at a console and operate the robotic arms during the procedure.
Doctors can deliver radiation therapy for both early and advanced prostate cancer types. Radiation kills cancer cells and keeps them from spreading throughout the body. Oncologists might use radiation therapy alone to treat prostate tumors, or they might use radiation in conjunction with surgery to shrink tumors. Radiation therapy can be delivered in one of two basic ways:
- HDR/LDR Brachytherapy. Instead of undergoing a series of radiation treatments, some Los Angeles patients opt to have radioactive wires or seeds placed near their prostate tumors. Doctors insert the radioactive material surgically through the rectum.
- External radiation beams. Radiation delivered non-invasively and accurately from outside the body can target prostate cancer cells. The CyberKnife System used by the doctors at Pasadena CyberKnife is one of the most advanced external beam systems, and it’s both pain-free and non-invasive.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. IMRT is the most common form of external radiosurgery for prostate cancer and relies on imaging tests to target tumors while the machine rotates once around an immobilized patient.
- Proton Beam Radiation. Still not widely available, this treatment uses protons instead of the more common X-rays to target and destroy cancer DNA to prevent further replication. Using similar guidance software as IMRT, Proton is designed to deliver the beam exactly where the tumor is located and not damage surrounding healthy tissue.
What CyberKnife Can Offer You
Accuracy is everything when treating prostate cancer. Doctors want to eliminate cancer cells without damaging the critical nerves near the prostate. CyberKnife isn’t surgical, but rather an advanced form of treatment done with robotics that delivers extremely precise dosages of radiation from outside the body, requires absolutely no surgery, and is pain-free.
CyberKnife utilizes real-time imaging, tumor-tracking software, and robotics to deliver precise radiation dosages exactly where they’re needed. Its imaging technology makes CyberKnife accurate down to the sub-millimeter, and the robotic arm can target cancer cells from almost any imaginable angle. Because it’s so accurate, it can safely administer higher dosages of radiation during the short treatment sessions, destroying cancer cells more quickly and completing treatment in less time than other treatments. Instead of going through six to eight weeks of radiation treatments, you’ll only have one to five sessions with CyberKnife.
Because CyberKnife can make accurate adjustments to even the tiniest body movements, your doctors won’t have to place you in compression devices designed to keep the body still during each session. Instead, you can lie on a treatment couch during treatment, which usually takes less than an hour.
CyberKnife treatment has minimal side effects, if any, and you can get back to your normal activities on the same day as your treatment. It’s effective against virtually all types of prostate cancer, and it can help some patients avoid prostate removal surgery. Contact Pasadena CyberKnife for a consultation today to see whether CyberKnife treatment could work for you.