Prostate Cancer Treatment: Finding a Urologist After Diagnosis
There are a number of crucial decisions to make once a person has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A primary concern would be choosing the medical facility that will provide the patient with personalized care and high-quality service. Prostate cancer is a disease that will need the attention of different specialists, such as medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, and surgeons. Considering this, it would greatly help if the hospital has a multi-disciplinary team in its urology and oncology department.
The patient will also have to frequently consult with a urologist, a doctor that specializes in the diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system. Urology is considered a surgical specialty; urologists perform a large number of surgical procedures if required. In fact, urologists dedicate 1 year of their 5-year residency program to general surgery. Some urologists, called urologic oncologists, further specialize to treat malignancies in their area of expertise.
The urologist will brief the patient on typical prostate cancer treatment options. Depending on the patient’s age, overall health, tolerance to medicine or therapies, and other factors, the doctor can recommend these approaches to treating prostate cancer and the symptoms that come with the disease:
- Active surveillance or the careful monitoring of the tumor's progress is an option if the cancer is discovered early and if the patient is a bit apprehensive about undergoing therapy or surgery. After about a year of tests and frequent tumor biopsies, the doctor and patient can decide on how to deal with the disease.
- Chemotherapy is a usual resort if the prostate cancer has already metastasized. The treatment makes use of drugs that kill cancerous and normal cells. These drugs are introduced to the patient's system either by ingestion or direct injection to the bloodstream.
- Hormone therapy blocks male sex hormones that sustain the growth of prostate cancer cells. This non-surgical approach is known for major side effects that include erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, and increased risk for diabetes.
- Radiation therapy, a primary prostate cancer treatment, can be done in 2 ways. The first is by placing radioactive grains in the prostate, and the other is by a beam that delivers radiation from outside the body.
- The surgery to remove the prostate is called prostatectomy. It is an ideal treatment if the cancer is still confined in the prostate. During the surgery, the prostate is removed and the urethra is attached directly to the bladder. These days, prostatectomy can be carried out using robotic assistance.
Aside from years of experience, prostate cancer patients should look for a urologist who is abreast with the current advances in robotic-assisted surgery. Familiarity with robotic consoles is a great advantage should the patient’s case require surgery. While offering about equal success rates with traditional prostatectomy, robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy is minimally invasive and is reported to result in fewer complications, less blood loss, shorter time to regain bladder control and sexual function, and shorter hospitalizations.
Talk to your urologist today and find out the best course of action to address prostate cancer.
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