ABOUT Individualized Prostate Cancer Care
What Is Individualized Prostate Cancer Care?
Individualized prostate cancer care (IPC) is a personalized approach to the diagnosis, prognosis, and management of prostate cancer combining information from the patient's history and physical examination with imaging studies.
IPC can be used in conjunction with active surveillance or surgery for localized prostate cancer but also may be an option for men who have been diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease.
The idea behind IPC is not to treat every man with prostate cancer in the same way, but to use the information on each individual's type of tumor, grade/stage of disease, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, personal medical history including genetics and other health problems to plan treatment.
Prostate Cancer Detection Involves
The prostate gland is an organ that is part of the male reproductive system; its role is to produce both fluids to nourish the sperm and the milky substance, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that forms part of semen. The prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
The prostate gland develops during puberty, enlarging as testosterone levels rise. Prostate cancer generally begins in the tissue of this gland—in other words, it originates in cells that produce PSA (prostate-specific antigen).
When detected at an early stage, cancerous tissue can often be surgically removed or destroyed using external beam radiation therapy or high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment for local disease control.
When Should Prostate Cancer Be Treated?
Prostate cancer is often not noticed until symptoms arise or cancer has spread beyond the gland. The main goal of treatment at this point is to slow its growth and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. The timing and type of treatment depend on several factors, including:
The risk that cancer will spread: The more aggressive a tumor's biological characteristics, such as its grade and stage (how far it has spread), the higher its likelihood of spreading throughout the body.
· PSA levels: An elevated PSA level, which can be due to several factors, may indicate that cancer has spread beyond the gland.
· Other medical conditions: Many people with prostate cancer also have other medical problems that could affect treatment decisions.
· The preferences of the patient and his family: What treatment decision will best serve the patient's needs? The patient and his partner (if any) should take part in any discussions about treatment decisions.
Possible Treatment Options
Active surveillance (also known as watchful waiting): During this option for men who are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, cancerous cells are monitored but no immediate treatment is given.
Prostate cancer can be monitored by having PSA tests every 6 months. If the prostate cancer is not spreading, doctors often suggest that patients have PSA tests every 6 to 12 months.
Active surveillance may be an option for men with prostate cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body that are not causing symptoms. Alternative Names for Active Surveillance: Watchful Waiting; Active Surveillance; Lesion-Specific Management; Indication-Specific Treatment; Prostate Cancer Observation; Prognostic Monitoring (Watch and Wait); Surveillance
Radiation therapy (external beam radiation therapy): Radiation therapy uses radiation beams aimed at the tumor to kill cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy tissue. The treatment may be used to ease symptoms of advanced cancers or to destroy cancer cells if surgery or chemotherapy is not an option. Radiation therapy may be used alone or along with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or other types of treatment.
External beam radiation therapy is a common form of radiation therapy that uses a machine outside the body to deliver high-energy radiation beams directly into the tumor. The beams penetrate the tissue and damage the cancer cells.
External beam radiation therapy can be given as Conventional external beam: High-energy X-rays are directed at the tumor from a device positioned on one side of the prostate gland.
Frequently Asked Questions on Individualized Prostate Cancer Care
What does "active surveillance" mean?
Active surveillance refers to a program in which men with cancer that has not spread can be closely followed over time to monitor the disease. The goal is to catch cancer early in its course when it might be cured by surgery and/or radiation.
However, not every man will require treatment and in many cases, patients and their doctors choose active surveillance when significant side effects or medical risk is likely if treatment is undertaken.
Is active surveillance for prostate cancer right for me?
Not everyone with prostate cancer needs to undergo treatment. Men who select active surveillance usually do so because they want more information about their cancer before deciding whether to undergo definitive therapy (surgery or radiation). Men may choose active surveillance because the disease has not spread beyond the prostate gland. Men who have metastasized cancer need treatment, whether or not it includes radiation therapy.
What are the side effects of radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy may cause anaemia, which occurs when the body's production of red blood cells is not sufficient to meet normal demands or blood loss. Patients are encouraged to continue iron supplements for this reason if they are undergoing treatment.
The side effects of radiation may include fatigue, joint pain, and pain during urination. There will also be some burning sensation in the rectum during treatment, which is normal and will go away quickly.