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Every case of prostate cancer is different and treatment options can vary. Several factors play a role in determining the most appropriate treatment – age and health, stage of the disease, and benefits and side effects of each treatment. In most cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. So men diagnosed with the disease usually have time to consider all available treatment options, gather additional opinions and, with the help of their doctor, decide on which option is best for them.
Northside Hospital’s leading-edge Prostate Care Program and highly experienced health care professionals, provide advanced treatments including: robotic prostatectomy, hormone therapy and prostate seed implantation-radiation.
Your team of physicians will recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for you.
As a pioneer in laparoscopic procedures, Northside leads Georgia in robotic prostatectomy procedures. Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive and allow the surgeon to view 3-D, high-definition images during surgery. The surgeon can manipulate robotic arms to attain a greater range of motion than humanly possible. As a result, patients experience smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, reduced blood loss, quicker recovery and return of sexual function. Northside leads the state in total number of laparoscopic prostatectomies performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System. Learn more about robotic surgery at Northside.
Chemotherapy involves the use of medicine to treat cancer. More than half of all people diagnosed with cancer receive chemotherapy. The thought of having chemotherapy may be frightening, but for millions of people, this approach is effective and gets them back to enjoying full, productive lives. Many side effects once associated with chemotherapy can now be prevented or controlled, allowing people to go on with their normal activities during treatment. Chemotherapy may be administered intravenously, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill.
At Northside's Infusion Centers, chemotherapy is dispensed on an outpatient basis by registered nurses who are certified in chemotherapy administration. These nurses also provide ongoing physical assessments.
Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to damage or kill cancer cells. Like surgery, radiation therapy is a localized treatment used to eradicate cancerous tissue. It may be externally or internally delivered. Radiation may be used alone, or in conjunction with other types of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and surgery. Learn more about radiation oncology at Northside.
Types of Radiation Therapy for prostate cancer include:
Prostate Seed Implantation – Radioactive seeds are surgically implanted in the prostate gland to kill the cancer. Northside performs more prostate seed implants than any provider in Georgia. The number of seeds implanted is determined by a computer-generated treatment plan. Ultrasound is used to accurately place the seeds, which are smaller than a grain of rice, throughout the gland. The procedure takes about one hour and is often done on an outpatient basis. You may receive a general or a spinal anesthetic beforehand. The seeds are left in place and deliver low doses of radiation for weeks or months. The radiation is delivered locally, which limits exposure to healthy tissues.
High-dose rate (HDR) Brachytherapy – HDR Brachytherapy is a procedure where small catheter tubes are placed throughout the prostate gland under anesthesia. High-dose radiation is delivered through the tubes precisely to the cancer. The radioactive source is not permanent and does not remain in the patient.
HDR Brachytherapy and Prostate Seed Implantation are generally used in men with early-stage prostate cancer that is relatively slow growing. They may not be appropriate for more advanced prostate cancer and may also be limited by other technical factors, such as large prostate glands.
Full-course external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) using IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy) and IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy) techniques can be delivered to the prostate gland as curative treatment for prostate cancer as well as salvage in a patient with a local recurrence after a radical prostatectomy and in patients with metastatic disease.
EBRT is a very precise method of delivering the high energy to the cancer cells. Through a machine called a linear accelerator (linac), a focused beam of radiation (called photon energy) is directed to any shape or angle of the tumor. The goal is to treat the cancer but minimize the radiation exposure to the surrounding tissues.
Rapid Arc IMRT delivers radiation directly to a tumor faster than the conventional IMRT. The treatment machine rotates 360 degrees around the patient in order to deliver the radiation to the tumor from multiple angles.
Combined implant and external beam radiation therapy – EBRT with IMRT or IGRT can be combined with an implant (prostate seed or HDR) to cover spread of the disease or regional lymph nodes if needed. Usually a 5-week course of radiation is delivered to the prostate gland and periprostatic area using IMRT or Rapid Arc IMRT. A high-dose implant is combined as a boost to deliver further radiation to the prostate gland while sparing surrounding tissues.
Clinical trials are studies that involve people and are a critical part of oncology research. These studies test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat cancer. Northside's Research Program is one of the largest community-based oncology/hematology programs in the nation. It is one of only a handful of programs that offers Phase I-IV clinical research. People who take part in cancer clinical trials have an opportunity to contribute to scientists’ knowledge about cancer and to help in the development of improved cancer treatments. They also receive state-of-the-art care from cancer experts. Learn more about Clinical Trials at Northside.
A therapy used to lower the level of male hormones that promote tumor growth when cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland and surgery and radiation usually are not effective. Chemotherapy may also be used to extend life when hormonal therapy is no longer effective.
We are also one of the few hospitals in Atlanta performing cryosurgery, a procedure that freezes and destroys prostate cancer cells. It is a treatment option for those patients whose early-stage cancer is confined to the prostate gland. Less invasive than traditional surgery, Cryosurgery may be an option for men who cannot have surgery or radiation therapy because of their age or other medical conditions.