What to Expect After Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

What to Expect After Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the prostate gland. The prostate is a small gland that is shaped like a walnut and is found in men’s pelvis. It is found next to the bladder and professionals examine it by doing a rectal exam.

One of the ways to treat prostate cancer is by using radiation therapy. Radiation therapy destroys cancerous cells, but it is also possible for the process to destroy normal cells. Here we will take a look at what to expect after radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer

Radiation treatment has many side effects. In most cases, these side effects start to take effect a few weeks after treatment has started. It is also worth noting that the side effects can be very unpleasant. However, one brighter side, some treatments can help reduce the effects of the symptoms. There are two types of side effects, short term side effects, and long term side effects.

Short Terms Side Effects

Any prostate cancer patient who receives radiotherapy treatment whether it is brachytherapy or external beam can develop side effects. The side effects that start a few weeks into the radiotherapy treatment are short term side effects.

Short term effects affect each patient differently. You might not have these problems, but it is good to consult with your doctor as soon as you start treatment. Here are some common short term side effects.

Skin Irritation

This is a common side effect among radiation treatment patients. In most cases, the skin becomes red, sensitive, dry, and irritated. If you are in radiotherapy treatment and you notice that your skin appears like it has sunburn signs, then know that it’s a side effect from the treatment.

You can overcome the problem through gentle skin treatment and bathing carefully using mild soap and warm water. It is strongly advised not to use scented soaps or lotions because they can increase the irritation.

Loss Of Pubic Hair

As soon as you start radiotherapy treatment, you will lose hair in your pubic areas. Hair will start to grow again when you are already more than a month in the treatment. However, it is worth noting that the pubic hair might not grow back as it once was before treatment started. Therefore, be ready to face this fact.

Fatigue

In almost all people who go through radiation treatment, fatigue is a common short term side effect. It begins within a few weeks in treatment, but it goes away after a few months in the treatment program.

Irritation In The Urinary Tract And Rectal Tissues

Prostate cancer radiation treatment can cause changes in urine and bowel movement habits. The symptoms are short-lived and you will be back to your normal self after a few weeks of completing the treatment. It is advisable to take a lot of fluids.

Long Term Effects

Long term effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer take place months or years after the treatment has ended. The risks associated with late side effects are dependent on radiation techniques and fields of radiation. Here is what to expect after radiation treatment for prostate cancer in the long term.

Infertility

One of the most serious long term side effects of radiation treatment is infertility. It is advisable to consult with your oncologist and discuss sperm banking to ensure your prospects of having children in the future are safe.

Problems With Your Bladder

Nor being able to hold your urine is one of the worst long term side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Other problems include hemorrhagic cystitis which leads to bloody urine, UTI or urinary tract infections and even bladder cancer. Therefore, if you start having problems when passing urine, you should contact your doctor.

Erectile Dysfunction

After radiation treatment has ended, you can have dry orgasms or erectile dysfunction. It is possible to get help and overcome these problems. If you are married, you can arrange for a couple’s therapy session so that you can get through these problems together as a couple.

Secondary Cancers

Although the risk is low, there are chances of developing secondary cancers in areas that were affected by the radiation treatment. The main cause of secondary cancers is the exposure of healthy tissues to radiation treatment. However, it is assuring to know that technology has developed the treatment techniques such that only the affected areas are exposed to the radiation.

In Conclusion

Many people do not know what to expect after radiation treatment for prostate cancer but the points listed above can give you a clue. It is also possible for you not to show any side effects at all. However, if you show the symptoms, talk to your oncologist to help you manage the side effects.

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy

Over time, the use of hormone therapy in prostate cancer life expectancy has been based on the demonstration that such androgen actions target malignant prostate cells. Patients weighing their treatment options for localized intermediate and high-risk cancer often find it difficult to choose from the various options available. Standard treatment procedures involve the radiation therapies and medications that block testosterone, a male hormone that promotes the growth of cancer cells in the prostate.

Unfortunately, cancer drugs come with serious side effects, including impotence, loss of muscle mass, and fatigue. Since radiation doesn’t treat prostate cancer fully without these drugs, doctors currently prefer combining it with hormone therapy. This is backed by a study from the New England Journal of Medicine indicating that patients who undergo hormone therapy are likely to survive longer, especially after surgery. 

Better Results Seen with Hormone Therapy

Radiation therapy is a crucial phase in treating prostate cancer as it eliminates any cancer cells that may remain after prostatectomy. Like the use of CBD oil for pain management in cancer, radiation only treats cancer cells localized in the pelvis, where the initial cancerous cells were located. Unlike radiation, hormone therapy treats cancerous cells in every part of the body and enhances the effects of radiation.

According to this leading research published in the New England Journal, the study concluded that prostate cancer patients using a combination of radiation and androgen therapy for 24 years significantly decreased death rates. So to say, less than 6 percent of patients who received hormone therapy die from prostate cancer after 12 years. On the other hand, 13% of patients who did not receive the combined radiation and hormone therapy died. Additionally, patients who used hormone therapy had a 9 percent reduced rate of developing metastatic prostate cancer.

Better Results Seen with Hormone Therapy

Radiation therapy is a crucial phase in treating prostate cancer as it eliminates any cancer cells that may remain after prostatectomy. Like the use of CBD oil for pain management in cancer, radiation only treats cancer cells localized in the pelvis, where the initial cancerous cells were located. Unlike radiation, hormone therapy treats cancerous cells in every part of the body and enhances the effects of radiation.

According to this leading research published in the New England Journal, the study concluded that prostate cancer patients using a combination of radiation and androgen therapy for 24 years significantly decreased death rates. So to say, less than 6 percent of patients who received hormone therapy die from prostate cancer after 12 years. On the other hand, 13% of patients who did not receive the combined radiation and hormone therapy died. Additionally, patients who used hormone therapy had a 9 percent reduced rate of developing metastatic prostate cancer.

Radiation therapy is a crucial phase in treating prostate cancer as it eliminates any cancer cells that may remain after prostatectomy. Like the use of CBD oil for pain management in cancer, radiation only treats cancer cells localized in the pelvis, where the initial cancerous cells were located. Unlike radiation, hormone therapy treats cancerous cells in every part of the body and enhances the effects of radiation.

According to this leading research published in the New England Journal, the study concluded that prostate cancer patients using a combination of radiation and androgen therapy for 24 years significantly decreased death rates. So to say, less than 6 percent of patients who received hormone therapy die from prostate cancer after 12 years. On the other hand, 13% of patients who did not receive the combined radiation and hormone therapy died. Additionally, patients who used hormone therapy had a 9 percent reduced rate of developing metastatic prostate cancer.

 

As mentioned, hormone therapy in prostate cancer treatment is used to slow or prevent testosterone production from the body. Testosterone is a male hormone that stimulates the growth of cancer cells in the prostate. Therefore, cancer specialists can recommend using hormone therapy at different times for different reasons during the treatment phase. Hormone therapy is best for several situations.

Patients with advanced or metastatic prostate cancer are the first eligible group for this therapy. Hormone therapy helps shrink and slow the growth of tumors. This relieves the signs and symptoms of cancer. Secondly, it suits patients whose levels of prostate-specific antigen remain high or start increasing after treatment of prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy is also beneficial in increasing the effectiveness of radiation therapy in patients with local prostate cancer. Physicians also prescribe for patients with high risks of cancer recurrence after the first treatment. This is because it helps in suppressing the cancerous cells.

Treatment Options for Hormone Therapy

The use of hormone therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer can be achieved in three ways. The first approach is the use of medications that stop testosterone production in the body. Some medications, such as gonadotropin or luteinizing hormone agonist and antagonist, can be used to prevent testosterone production in the body.

Doctors can secondly use medications that block testosterone hormones from making contact with cancer cells. Also known as anti-androgens, they are given alongside luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist to prevent testosterone from reaching the cancerous cells. Surgery to remove the testes is the third effective way of achieving hormone therapy. It reduces the levels of testosterone hormones quickly. However, unlike medication, surgery is a permanent procedure.

Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

The use of hormone therapy in young patients with early prostate cancer and long periods requires a careful evaluation of the indications. Possible risks associated with this treatment option include the risks of over-Treatment, developing a hormone-refractory disease, affects quality of life, leads to bone thinning, erectile dysfunction, and increased body fat.

Men with significant pre-existing conditions, such as heart problems and diabetes, often experience serious side effects or report worsening of previous conditions. To reduce hormone therapy’s possible consequences, doctors often recommend using them for a specific period or until the PSA levels are low.

However, patients may need to resume using this therapy if cancer progresses or recurs. Several studies have shown that intermittent dosing of medications used for hormone therapy can also reduce the risks of developing side effects.

Conclusion

Prostate cancer, like any other form of cancer, is on the rise. So to say, there are about 200,000 diagnoses made in the U.S. every year. Of these, 75,000 undergo a prostatectomy, but 30% of them experience a surge in PSA levels, even after the surgery. In such situations, doctors often opt for radiation therapy to eliminate recurrence. However, hormone therapy’s inclusion during radiation has demonstrated better results in preventing recurrence and increased life expectancy among prostate cancer patients.