Side Effects of Radical Prostate Treatment

Learn about precision prostate treatment side effectsMany men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer opt for radical treatments including prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) or radiation therapy. While these treatments can be very effective, sometimes taking such a radical approach may not be necessary. That’s because when prostate cancer is diagnosed by conventional core biopsy, the physician may be unable to determine the exact size, location, or stage of tumors. As a result, many men choose to swing an “axe” at the problem by choosing a radical treatment, which can result in unpleasant side effects that can drastically affect quality of life.

Targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment provides a less radical alternative by treating only the cancerous tissue but leaving the healthy prostate tissue intact.

Side Effects of Prostate Surgery

The surgical management of prostate cancer has evolved extensively over the past several decades and the number of radical prostatectomy surgeries has dramatically increased to an estimated 100,000-plus per year.

Post-surgical evaluation of removed prostates suggests that not all men need to have such an aggressive approach to cure them from prostate cancer, and that targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment, or even active surveillance could be more acceptable alternatives.

While some men with aggressive prostate cancer can benefit from prostatectomy surgery, they must carefully weigh their options as the surgery carries a substantial risk of side effects, including:

  • Urinary dysfunction, including urinary incontinence, which can range from minor urine leakage to a complete loss of urine control, as well as increased urinary frequency and urgency.
  • Sexual impotence or erectile dysfunction caused by trauma to the delicate nerves and blood vessels that control erection. For many men, function returns several months or years post-surgery. For some men, erections may never return. Loss of fertility also can result from radical treatments.

Side effects of Radiation Therapy

About one-quarter of men diagnosed with prostate cancer choose radiation therapy. There are two different approaches to radiation therapy for prostate cancer: external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Both techniques produce the same tissue changes in the prostate and carry risks of side effects including:

  • Urinary dysfunction
  • Sexual impotence or erectile dysfunction
  • Bowel dysfunction, including diarrhea or frequent stools, rectal leakage, and loss of control over bowel movements.
  • Fatigue from radiation can range from mild to severe and can vary by treatment. It typically will last a few weeks to a few months after your final treatment.

How Can You Avoid Side Effects

The answer might seem simple: Get a more accurate diagnosis so you can make a more informed treatment decision. With 3D prostate cancer biopsy, our physicians can more accurately diagnose and stage prostate cancer using 3D mapping capabilities. With a more precise diagnosis, we’re able to help you decide on the treatment that’s best for you and, when possible, to avoid treatment options that are too aggressive for your condition.

The focus of our program at Precision Prostate Cancer Care is to preserve the normal prostate while destroying the cancerous tissue. With targeted focal cryotherapy prostate cancer treatment, cancer tumors identified with the 3D mapping biopsy are destroyed with minimally invasive cryotherapy techniques, while the rest of the prostate is left intact.