Nonsurgical treatments for prostate cancer often depend on the stage of the disease and the individual patient. Advanced technologies have provided men with a variety of choices that have few side effects. Candidates for minimally invasive or nonsurgical methods are usually men in the early stages of prostate cancer.
Nonsurgical methods using laser instruments allow surgeons to remove the cancer without removal of the prostate. The technique combines MRI imaging to identify the cancer with advanced laser technology to remove cancerous tissue.
An MRI laser ablation instrument zaps the cancer in the operation, according to the University of Texas Medical Branch
. The procedure also may eliminate the side effects of erectile dysfunction and incontinence, which may occur in surgery.
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Brachytherapy places radioactive seeds in the prostate gland, the University of Maryland Medical Center reported
. The outpatient procedure is minimally invasive and requires no open surgery. Doctors use thin needles to place the tiny radioactive seeds in the gland and control an area exposed to radiation. Ultrasound and computer programming are used in the placement of the seeds.
Patients have fewer side effects than other treatments. Anesthesia is required, but the procedure only takes a few hours. Patients might go home the same day or early the next morning. They can usually return to normal activities in two or three days. Brachytherapy can be used for low-risk patients and in addition to external beam radiotherapy.
Image-guided radiotherapy targets cancer tissue after the placement of seeds. It is considered an advanced form of radiotherapy. Radiation treatment in the past wasn’t entirely perfect because the tumor and the prostate gland could move. Image-guided radiotherapy works with computer-guided technology to adjust the radiation beam to target the cancer tissue in early-stage prostate cancer patients, according to UCLA Urology
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Some patients have success with cryotherapy, a nonsurgical treatment that uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells, UCLA noted. It may be used in patients who have recurring cancers following radiation treatment where surgery may not be a good option. The side effect of erectile dysfunction may occur, and the procedure may be preferable for men not concerned about potency.
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