When Does Prostate Cancer Require Treatment?

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, the first thing you may wonder is how quickly you can get it surgically removed. Prostate cancer is unique in that treatment is not always required and monitoring it closely is sometimes the best course of action. 

Here at the office of Mike Hsieh, MD, in La Jolla, California, we offer advanced solutions to treat a wide range of urinary and prostate issues. We provide personalized care and individualized treatment plans in a caring, supportive environment. 

We understand that receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis can be frightening, but the statistics are hopeful.

An astounding 100% of men with localized (only in the prostate) and regional (in the prostate and nearby structures or lymph nodes) prostate cancer survive for at least five years. In many cases, treatment — or urgent treatment — may not even be necessary.

Treatment is linked to the stage of the cancer 

Determining if the cancer has spread and how extensively is one of the biggest factors we evaluate in deciding on the stage of cancer and a treatment. Other considerations we use to figure out the stage include: 

Another tool that helps us determine the stage of cancer is the Gleason score. It assesses how abnormal the cancer cells appear under a microscope to help determine how quickly they could grow and spread.

Other considerations when deciding on treatment

Determining the stage of cancer isn't our only consideration when making treatment decisions. Your age, overall health, and personal medical preferences also bear a lot of weight in the decision. 

For example, if you have a slow-growing cancer and you’re a senior with other serious health problems, you might view prostate cancer as more of a chronic disease rather than an imminent threat. 

Older men may choose to simply monitor the cancer instead of undergoing treatment right away. This approach is reasonable when the tumor is small, is only in the prostate, isn't causing any problems, and is growing slowly. 

Men who are typically encouraged to undergo treatment are healthy younger men, those with fast-growing cancer, or men with metastasizing cancer.

Some treatments have some possible risks, such as incontinence, bowel disorders, and erection problems, so some men opt to delay treatment as long as possible to avoid these issues. Others prioritize the removal of the cancer.

Helping you choose

Talk with your loved ones and friends so they can help you in the decision-making process. Although every man's status and journey is different, discussing the benefits and risks with other men who have been in the same situation may be helpful, too.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, call our office or request an appointment through our online system so we can evaluate your condition and discuss your options.

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