Prostate cancer treatment

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HOW IS IT TREATED

The most appropriate treatment strategy depends on a careful analysis by the specialist and the patient's health status and disease characteristics.

HOW TO CLASSIFY THE THERAPEUTIC STRATEGIES?

  • A curative strategy is used to heal the disease.
  • A chronicity strategy is used to monitor the evolution of the disease over time.
  • Palliative strategy is used to reduce or eliminate symptoms caused by disease progression.

First, you need to make a distinction between observational attitudes and active therapies. In the first case, the choice is to not carry out any therapy and to perform frequent inspections, aimed at keeping under control the evolution of the disease and possibly modify the therapeutic approach. These two options are active surveillance and watchful waiting. During active surveillance, the doctor monitors the tumor and its growth based on a strict appointment schedule. During each visit, several tests are performed. 

The aim is to switch to other treatment options if there are signs that the disease is progressing. Active surveillance is a treatment pathway to cure localized prostate cancer with a low Gleason score. If you have locally-advanced prostate cancer, other treatment pathways will be recommended. In 'watchful waiting' the doctor schedules regular visits to monitor your health and recommends further treatment when symptoms appear. This treatment is generally indicated when you are unfit for radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy or hormonal therapy. This may be related to your age or any medical conditions which make those treatments dangerous for you.

This choice should not be considered as a fallback: on the contrary, is often taken into account especially for patients who have a scarcely aggressive disease, potentially indolent and low risk. This choice can also be implemented for patients, particularly the elderly, who have both serious illnesses and worse prognosis. Otherwise, the options available in various active treatments are varied and include technical surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and, finally, owing to the fact that research in this field never stops, constant availability of new therapies.

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