Radiation vs. Surgery: Which Prostate Cancer Treatment Is Best for You? 

September 8, 2021
3 min read
Radiation vs. Surgery: Which Prostate Cancer Treatment Is Best for You? 

The prostate is an essential organ that is only found in the male reproductive system, where it produces some of the fluid in sperm and shields the sperm cells. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect men. The American Cancer Society reports that about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime. 

Radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and urologists are the main types of doctors that provide prostate cancer treatment. Radiation therapy and surgery are two common forms of treatment, and your cancer care team must choose the right one for you. 

Radiation Therapy Treatment

High energy rays and/or particles are used in radiation therapy to terminate cancerous cells in the prostate. This type of treatment should only be administered by experienced radiation oncologists who work in high-volume cancer centers. Radiation therapy can be used for patients either in the early or late stages of prostate cancer. 

It depends on the patient, but radiation can be used to treat early-stage cancers of the prostate and late stages of prostate cancer where it may have spread to other organs. It is a dynamic treatment. Radiation therapy can be given alone or with other treatments. It also can be used as a treatment if some cancerous cells were not completely removed from surgery. 

Types of Radiation Therapy Treatments

The two main types of radiation therapy treatments are external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy. There are other variants of radiation therapy, but these are the most popular. EBRT is the most common form of radiation therapy. This treatment is most often provided to patients with early-stage cancer in the prostate gland. Each EBRT treatment is like getting an X-ray and it is relatively painless. 

Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds near the prostate. The radiation emitted will kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. It may be used alongside EBRT or other radiation treatment to destroy cancerous prostate cells at any stage. 

Prostate Cancer Surgery

Surgery for prostate cancer is a common treatment for prostate cancer before it has spread outside of the gland. The surgical procedure removes the whole prostate gland along with some nearby tissues, including seminal vesicles. If you get this treatment before the cancer metastisizes, then it is effective at maintaining and curing your prostate cancer. 

Types of Prostate Cancer Surgeries

Radical prostatectomy is the most common surgical procedure. This procedure removes the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. It can be done with a traditional open technique (open radical prostatectomy) or with the assistance of robotic equipment (laparoscopic radical prostatectomy).

A surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen during an open radical prostatectomy. He or she then removes the prostate gland. In laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, a surgical robot’s arms under the control of the surgeon are used to remove the prostate. Patients usually have to use a catheter to help drain urine for about a week after the operation. 

How Do You Know Which Treatment Is Right for You?

The treatment you pursue will vary by the stage of your prostate cancer and the severity of the issue. Regardless of the treatment, you must have medical personnel with extensive experience. You should also feel comfortable discussing your prostate issues with your medical professional. 

BASS Medical Group’s radiation oncologist Dr. Kenneth Chao is a person you can trust and depend on if you have prostate cancer. He has years of experience administering prostate cancer treatments. Visit our website or call our Walnut Creek office at (925) 954-6711.