Treatment Outcomes and Follow ups for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Read more about prostate cancer here.

Picture of prostrate cancer written with toy alphabets

What are treatment outcomes?

The result that is expected from a particular treatment is referred to as outcome. It is based on the stage and type of the cancer, type of treatment given, age, tolerance and overall health of the patients. The outcome varies for person to person too. The five-year survival rate of the cancer, represented in percentage gives the number of patients who have survived the cancer with the anticancer treatments. This is the number of patients who survived the cancer for more than five years, out of every 100 people diagnosed with it.

Treatment methods of prostate cancer and their outcomes:

The following are the outcomes of the treatments used for prostate cancer:

Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to treat prostate cancers. These drugs are prescribed to be given in cycles. After each cycle, to manage and cope up with the side effects, patients are given a rest period. The blood absorbs these drugs and they virtually travel along with the blood in the body to all parts of the body to reach and kill the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is not routinely recommended to treat prostate cancer. However, these drugs are are combined with other treatments for successful results. Chemotherapy alone has very low results in treating prostate cancers. Read more about chemotherapy for prostate cancer here.

Radiotherapy:

Radiotherapy uses high beams of x-rays to treat prostate cancer cells and tumours. This treatment aims in killing the cancer cells and restricting their growth. Radiotherapy has a very good success rate in treating prostate cancer. Higher and precise dosage of radiation will increase the effectiveness of the treatment. For intermediate prostate cancer, the success rate of treating prostate cancer is 95.5% and that for high risk prostate cancer is 91.3%. 5-survival rate of radiotherapy for prostate cancer is 98.8%. Read more about radiation therapy of prostate cancer here.

Surgery:

Surgical procedures are the most recommended treatments for prostate cancer. For localised prostate cancers, surgical procedures alone are capable of curing prostate cancer, while for advanced prostate cancers, it is used as a part of the main treatment. The surgery basically involves the removal of the prostate gland and the nearby tissues. The most common procedure is prostatectomy. Read more about surgery for prostate cancer here.

Hormone therapy:

This treatments aims at reducing the male hormones, called androgens, to their impact in developing prostate cancer. It does not completely cure prostate cancer. Androgens help in the growth of prostate cancer. Lowering the levels of testosterone dihydrotestosterone in the body helps in shrinking the prostate cancer tumours and restrict the growth of prostate cancer.
Hormone therapy is often used to treat metastasized and recurrent prostate cancer along with other treatments. It is also a part of palliative therapy and supportive care.
Hormone therapy alone does not cure the cancer completely, but helps in restricting the growth of cancer. When it is given in combination with other treatments, it has good success rate in treating prostate cancer. Read more about hormone therapy for prostate cancer here.

Survival rate by stage:

The survival rate usually refers to the five year survival rate that shows how many patients out of 100 live beyond five years after first being diagnosed by a specific cancer. It is an indicator to understand the outlook of the patient based on the type and stage of cancer.
Localised prostate cancer has 98% to 100% 5-year survival rate, while metastasized prostate cancer has a five year survival rate of 30%. The 5 year survival rates of different stages of prostate cancer are:

Stage I:

In this stage, the cancer is confined to the prostate only. It is non-detectable by generally diagnostic tests. The stage I of prostate cancer has a 5-year survival rate of almost 100%. Read more about the stage I of prostate cancer here.

Stage II:

This stage of prostate cancer might have spread to the nearby tissues or lymph nodes and could be detected by regular diagnostic tests for prostate cancer. It has a 5-year survival rate of stage II prostate cancer of 99%. Read more about the stage II of prostate cancer here.

Stage III:

Stage III of prostate cancer is a metastasized form of cancer which might have spread to the distant lymph nodes and organs. The 5-year survival rate of stage III prostate cancer is 95%. Read more about the stage III of prostate cancer here.

Stage IV:

This stage of prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, or bladder. These are the most advanced stages of prostate cancer. The 5-year survival rate of stage IV prostate cancer is 29%. Read more about the stage IV of prostate cancer here.

Follow up plan:

The patients have to monitor his/her health regularly, even after active treatment for prostate cancer. They have to be monitored for any signs or symptoms of recurrent cancer, manage with the side effects of the treatments alone with the general health of the patient. The following is the follow up care for prostate cancer:

Developing a follow-up care plan:

The patients are advised to develop a diet plan, planning of future appointments with the doctor along with the lost of medical and physical examinations as a part of the follow up care plan. This not only helps the patients to strike back at their regular life, but also minimizes the risk of side effects and recurrent cancer. They are often recommended to fix appointments for every 3 to 6 months for the first 5 years and once in an after 5 years.

Regular monitoring of blood cell count:

Blood transfusions may be required in case of lowered number of blood cells which is why it is advised to regularly monitor the patient’s blood count. For patients who experience lowered blood cell count, blood transfusions may be required.

Regular monitoring of hormonal levels:

Hormonal therapy to treat prostate cause abnormalities in the levels of hormones. Patients have to talk to their doctors regarding the consequences of the treatment, so that they monitor the hormonal levels and check for results.

Healthy diet as advised by a nutritionist:

The patients have to be very careful with what they eat by estimating their digestive tract acceptance. They are advised to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Food that are rich in calcium and vitamin D are recommended. Saturated fats and alcohol consumption must be avoided.
The diet of the person post treatment plays a very important role in how smooth they carry on their daily activities. Hence, talking to an experienced nutritionist could help.

Watching for recurrence of cancer:

Strict monitoring is required to check for any symptoms of recurrent prostate cancer. In case the symptoms begin, next cycle of the treatment has to be started.

Keeping personal health records:

For the further diagnosis or treatment in the future, the patients are advised to maintain a detailed record of the medical history, which includes the previous treatments that the patient has been given for the prostate cancer treatment and in the past, along with his/her allergic descriptions.

Managing side effects:

Prostate cancer treatments have a lot of side effects which could be very embarrassing to live with. Hence, patients are suggested to see a doctor immediately he experiences the side effects and get it treated to live a happy and long life.

Care to be taken:

The follow up plan also includes a proper after care for the patient to follow:

  • Regular check-ups with the doctor
  • Have meals healthy in vitamin D
  • Stay hydrated
  • Not work too hard
  • Keep skin moisturized
  • Take nourishment supplements
  • Take anti sickness medication to prevent reduce weakness
  • Consult a doctor on any reactions
  • Avoid spicy food
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Self hygiene is very important

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