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Prostate Cancer Radiation Treatment

The majority of men will develop an enlarged prostate sometime in their lifetime. The symptoms include: difficulting in starting urination, weak flow of urination, need to urinate frequently.

Men that suffer from these symptoms should seek medical advice to ensure that it only an enlarged prostate that is causing the problem, and not prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths among men, second only to lung cancer. One of the problems with prostate cancer, is that the symptoms typically do not show up in the early stages of the disease, and when they do manifest themselves, it is often in the late stages of the disease and makes it difficult to treat.

The main symptoms of prostate cancer include the same symptoms as an enlarged prostate, but the advanced stages also include: Pain in back, hips and thighs; unexplained weight loss; feeling of tiredness.

Most prostate cancers are treated by surgery or radiation therapy. At the present time, there is not a good chemotherapy option for the early stages of prostate cancer. Surgery is the most common method of treating the early stages of prostate cancer. But there are risks with any type of surgery, and many men are turning to radiation treatment.

Radiation therapy works by killing the cancer cells and not killing the adjacent healthy cells. The two most common methods for radiation therapy include seed therapy and external beam radiation therapy.

Seed therapy involves implanting a small amount (a seed) of radioactive material in the prostate. The radioactive material will last about two years, in which time the cancerous cells have been killed.

External Beam radiation therapy is a painless, out patient procedure where a beam is aimed at the affected areas. If the area has spread, the radiation can be aimed at it as well. The treatment takes place five days a week over a seven week period.

The side effects of prostrate cancer radiation treatment include incontinence, impotence, and fatigue. Not all patients suffer from these side effects.

Treatment for the early stages of prostate cancer is usually successful. However, if the prostate cancer is not identified in its early stages, then the success rate drops dramatically. This is why all men over the age of 50 should have a yearly check up to identify prostrate cancer early.