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Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects



Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Prostate cancer is common among men above the age of 65 and the treatment options include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, etc. Let us take a look at some prostate cancer treatment side effects.Prostate cancer is the cancer of the prostate gland and is one of the common forms of cancer. Men above the age of 65 are found to be prone to this type of cancer. The treatment of prostate cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and the prostate health. If the malignant tumor has not spread to other parts and is still inside the prostate, radiation therapy and a surgery, called radical prostatectomy, are suggested. For very old men, 'watchful waiting' is recommended, where no major treatment is administered. In case, the tumor is big enough to fill the prostate gland, it cannot be cured by surgery or radiation. Hence, hormone therapy is administered to reduce the rate of cancer growth.

Men affected with prostate cancer may experience side effects either due to the cancer itself or from the treatment. So it can be prostate cancer side effects or prostate cancer treatment side effects. The side effects may vary from one form of treatment to another and from one patient to another. It may also vary with the extent of the treatment. Let us go through some of the side effects caused by the various treatment options for prostate cancer.

Side Effects of Prostatectomy
Prostatectomy or prostate removal surgery, may cause permanent impotence or urinary incontinence. But these problems are solved to some extent with the help of the latest technologies. Now these techniques are incorporated in prostate removal surgeries, especially when the tumors are small. Such surgeries are termed as nerve sparing surgeries and are helpful in preventing permanent damage to the nerves that control erection and bladder movement. In some cases, these techniques are fully successful and the side effects of the surgery are temporary. However, men who have undergone prostatectomy, no longer produce semen and experience dry orgasms. Like any other surgery, prostatectomy also results in side effects like pain and weakness. The recovery period and the severity of the side effects may vary from one person to another.

Side Effects of Radiation
Prostate cancer treatment side effects vary with the mode of treatment, which is decided on the basis of the extent of tumor growth. If the doctor decides that a particular patient needs radiation therapy as part of the treatment, it can also cause some side effects. Mild side effects of radiation include weakness, diarrhea or frequent urination. Apart from that, the skin of the area which receives radiation, may turn red, dry and tender. Hair loss may also occur, which can be temporary or permanent. More serious side effects include impotence, which may happen in some patients. Impotence is often associated with external radiation therapy rather than the internal ones. This is due to the fact that internal radiation therapy is less likely to cause damage to the nerves that are responsible for controlling erection.

Hormone Treatment - Side Effects
The common side effects of hormone therapy administered for prostate cancer patients are hot flashes, impotence and loss of libido. Some types of hormone treatment may worsen the symptoms, before eventually improving the condition of the patient. If the patient is given estrogen or anti-androgen treatment, he may experience swelling of the chest, along with nausea or vomiting. This type of treatment is normally not advised for those, who suffer from heart diseases. Estrogen may lead to heart diseases in men and worsen the condition for those who are already suffering from heart problems.

As far as chemotherapy is concerned, side effects vary with the types of drugs used for the treatment. Alternative cancer treatments such as biological therapy, are often associated with fever, chills, weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, etc. Some people may develop rashes and a tendency to bleed and bruise easily. You cannot avoid prostate cancer treatment side effects, as the the treatment is necessary to prevent the cancer from spreading. But you can always approach your doctor for some measures, which can help in curbing the severity of the symptoms.