Prostate cancer does not have to necessarily mean the end of the world today. This cancer, which affects the prostate, the gland that produces the nutrients for sperms, does not often require treatment in early stages. Rather, some forms of prostate cancer remain dormant and do not disturb the rest of your body. Other forms spread quite fast to the other organs of the body, thereby necessitating timely medical action. Though it is known that gene mutation is responsible for prostate cancer, the exact causal factor is yet to be ascertained.
Prostate cancer does not make its presence known in the early stages. In the later stages, one may have difficulty in passing urine and the force and quantity of urine flow may decrease. Urinal or seminal blood may be present. Pain in the lower back, hips, legs, and erectile dysfunctions are some of the other common symptoms of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer requires treatment in advanced stages or when its proliferation is high. Radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, tissue freezing, tissue heating, and immunotherapy are some of the treatment methods adopted for treating prostate cancer. However, these methods come with side effects, some of which may cause considerable discomfiture to the patient.
Side Effects Of Prostate Cancer Treatments
Hormone Therapy Side Effects
Hormone therapy involves inhibition of the production of the hormone testosterone, which promotes the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
Erectile dysfunction and lack of sex appetite, reduction in bone mass, weight gain and bone management are some of the common side effects of hormone therapy.
Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Radiation therapy basically involves exposing the prostate cancer cells to high-energy radiation that destroys them. This is done either by focusing external beam radiation on the prostate gland, or by placing radioactive “seeds” in the prostate gland (Brachytherapy).
Painful urination, frequent urination or urgent urination, pain while passing stools, loose stools, or erectile dysfunction are common side effects of Radiation Therapy.
Prostate Surgery Side Effects
Prostate surgery involves removal of the prostate gland along with the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. The side effects of this treatment method for prostate cancer include erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
Heating Prostate Gland Side Effects
High intensity ultrasound waves at a high temperature are used to destroy the prostate cancer cells. As these are highly targeted towards the malignant cells, the healthy portions of the prostate remain intact causing minimum or no side effects.
Prostate Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy kills the prostate cancer cells by drug administration. Diarrhea, flatulence, bleeding bowels, bowels incontinence, infertility, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, nervous system issues, changes in cognitive functions, appetite and hair loss, are some of the issues that one faces as side effects of chemotherapy.
Prostate Freezing (Cryosurgery) Side Effects
Cryosurgery involves freezing the prostate cells to kill them by passing cold gas through fine needles inserted in the prostate gland. This is followed by heating the cells by passing a hot gas through the needles. Side effects of cryosurgery include impotence, severe urinary incontinence, obstructed urine flow, and rectum injury.
Immunotherapy Side Effects
Immunotherapy is adopted to treat certain cases of advanced prostate cancer. In this method of treatment, one’s own immune cells are used against the prostate cancer cells to destroy them. Fevers, chills, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, breathing problem, headache, and blood pressure are some of the common side effects of immunotherapy.