Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prostate cancer treatments all have side effects

The many treatments for prostate cancer all have something in common, they all cause side effects that are sometimes long-lasting or even permanent.

Technological and medical advances try to reduce these the side effects, but a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that men suffered varying rates of incontinence, impotency and bowel problems after various treatments.

That's why men often take the side effects into account as often as the cure rates for prostate cancer treatments.

The methods studied: radiation beam, brachytherapy (radioactive seeds), surgical removal and hormone therapy.

According to the AP:
"No procedure was clearly best or worst."

That doesn't help making a decision any easier, does it.

The onset of side effects sometimes depend on the individual. Age, the size of the prostate, and previous urinary problems all can play a part in recovery.

In general, hormone therapy had a big effect on sexuality. It suppresses the production of testosterone.

Bracytherapy sometimes led to sexual problems, but more often caused discomfort with urination.

The surgical group reported a higher levels of urinary incontinence. The bracytherapy group had the highest levels of all urinary problems, however, which included pain and increased frequency. Those undergoing surgery and nerve sparing had a reduced risk of impotency, although it was not eliminated.

The beam radiation and radioactive seed group both reported bowel problems a year after surgery.

More at Science Daily and USA Today.


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