Patient Care Connect Video
The treatment you receive depends on several factors, including your overall health, the stage of the disease and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. Treatments are often combined and can include the following:
Melanoma is usually treated first with surgery and may be followed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy and biologic therapy.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is the careful use of radiation to treat many different kinds of cancer.
External beam radiation therapy may be used to treat skin cancer itself or to relieve pain from cancer that has spread.
The side effects you might feel will depend on the part of your body being treated, the dose of radiation given and whether you also receive other treatments like chemotherapy. Before treatment begins, ask your doctor about possible side effects and how you can best manage them.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about any discomfort you feel. He or she may be able to provide drugs or other treatments to help.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.
Prostate cancer is most often found through a blood test measuring the amount of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the body. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer have no symptoms and only find their cancer due to screening. However, sometimes prostate cancer can cause symptoms. Some signs to look for include:
If your doctor suspects you might have prostate cancer, some tissue will be taken from your prostate and examined under a microscope. This test is called a biopsy.
If you find out you have cancer, you should discuss your treatment options with a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in treating disease with radiation therapy, and a urologist, a surgeon who specializes in the urinary tract. Options for dealing with prostate cancer include:
Sometimes a combination of treatments is best for your cancer, such as surgery followed by external beam radiation. Some men can safely postpone treatment and watch it closely until treatment is needed. This is called watchful waiting.
External beam radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) involves a series of daily treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the prostate. There are several ways to deliver external beam radiation.
Each of these treatments is acceptable. With all external beam therapy, painless radiation treatments are delivered in a series of daily sessions, each under 30 minutes in duration, Monday through Friday, for six to 10 weeks. The duration of your treatment will depend on your condition and the type of radiation used.
Possible side effects include fatigue, increased frequency or discomfort of urination, and loose bowel movements. These usually go away a few weeks after completing treatments. Impotence is also a possible side effect of any treatment for prostate cancer. However, many patients who receive radiation therapy for prostate cancer are able to maintain sexual function.
Prostate brachytherapy involves treating the cancer by inserting radioactive sources directly into the gland.
Depending on your cancer, prostate brachytherapy may be combined with external beam radiation therapy. The side effects from these treatments are similar to those seen with external beam radiation therapy, such as urinary frequency, discomfort on urination or bowel irritation. Medication helps control these symptoms that typically go away within a few months after treatment.
Depending on your cancer, you may benefit from adding hormone therapy to radiation.
The length of time you will receive hormone therapy depends on your cancer. Ask your doctor for more information. Side effects can include hot flashes, mild breast tenderness, diarrhea, nausea and tiredness.