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Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in males across the country and it is because of that more attention is on it to see if there are ways to cure or slow down the spread of cancer from the prostate glands.  With the advancements in technology it is no surprise that there are many options when it comes to curing prostate cancer.  Whether or not you have an option depends on how early your cancer is detected.  Obviously, the earlier the better and the more options you will have as a patient.  Just a few years ago, the only option you would have had was chemotherapy and many people are not accepting that as an only option.  Today, if you can be diagnosed early, you might also have the option for cryotherapy as a form of curing the cancer or at least stopping the spread of the disease.

Cryotherapy basically means cold healing.  If you are thinking about cryotherapy as an option for curing your prostate cancer, there are a few things that you should know about the procedure.  First you are anesthetized so you are not going to feel much at all.  One or more needles is then inserted into the prostate gland or the tumor that has likely begun to grow.  Because the doctor is only using small needles to do the work, cutting open the body is not needed and the healing times are generally faster because of this.  Using ultrasound technology to guide the needles the doctor gets them into place and them argon gas is used to create an iceball at the tip of the needle.  The iceball would usually cover all areas of the tumor and once the entire area the temperature is dropped to enable the freezing of the tumor material.  Once the tumor is frozen at a low enough temperature for a set amount of time, the doctor will thaw the iceball and remove the probes from that area.

Ice is used because it deals a lethal dose of cold to the tumor in more ways than one.  Freezing dries out each of the cells inside the tumor damaging it, as well as cutting off the blood supply that was feeding the tumor in the first place.  What is left is a little bit of tissue that is absorbed harmlessly by the body over time.  The process might be a newer one in the prostate cancer world, but it has become more popular over the last few years.  More doctors are becoming certified in the process and that is allowing more men the option to save themselves from the overall side effects caused by the prostate cancer.  Some of the benefits that come with going with cryotherapy as an option to treat prostate cancer include low blood loss, shorter hospital stays, short recovery period and less pain compared to other prostate surgery types.  Less time in the hospital, less pain and less blood loss are all very positive outcomes of cryotherapy.

In some cases, it might be that you can choose to get cryotherapy done in conjunction with radiation or other surgery.  What options you choose will be based solely on how far along the cancer is and how large the tumor might have grown at the point where it was discovered.  Because the only studies about cryotherapy have been short term, there is really no definitive as to whether cryotherapy is for everyone so you should always consult your doctor before going through the procedure.  Prostate cancer is not the only type of cancer that can be treated with cryotherapy.  Retinablastoma (a childhood cancer of the eye), skin cancers, growths on the skin and certain types of cervix cancer.  More studies are ongoing with the cryotherapy option in the highlight to document other benefits and side effects of the cancer treatment.  Even though there are side effects from using cryotherapy, they are far less compared to other traditional cancer treatments used today.  Because the long term issues are not all known at this point, cryotherapy might not be the first option your doctor gives you and because of that, you might have to travel to another city to get treated.

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Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is found to affect many men every year. While there are a multitude of treatment options depending on your stage, there are notable issues that can impeded the effectiveness of treatment. Studies have shown that prostate cancer diagnosis is traditionally accompanied by stress, with good reason. However, stress has been found to have a negative effect on the treatment of cancerous cells. Drugs that are administered to the patient are reportedly affected by emotional stress that patients may be experiencing after being diagnosed with cancer. There are also studies that indicate that cancerous cells grow more quickly in the existence of stress, regardless of the reason for it.

Stress affects all parts of a person’s life and with the new study it looks like it can have negative results for those being treated for prostate cancer.  Many cancer studies from the past have shown that the tumors can grow along the nerve fibers inside of your body.  Nerves are found in and around tumors in many cases, but until now, the theory was not that stress along the nerves can cause the tumor to grow faster.  In the new study, the nerves that aide in heartbeat and digestion were studied in mice with human tissues injected in them.  Studies show that the autonomic nervous system appeared to have cancer promoting effects.  One branch of nerves specifically has to do with the body’s nature “flight or fight” response to dangers or stress.  This can cause a faster heartbeat and the constriction of blood vessels.  The other branch is opposite and helps the body to relax and digest, while conserving energy.

Having additional stress in your life has become commonplace with the American public.  Work, family, sports, diet, financial issues and other things can cause unneeded stress on a person.  Because everyone is different and handles stress in certain ways, the effect of stress on cancer can also be different.  The study shows that emotional stress can affect how the cancer treatments work and that is not a good thing for those that want to be treated for prostate cancer.  The new study is still in the early stages, but does have promising results that patients and doctors can learn from.  If additional studies find that stress does cause the tumors to grow faster, it might help doctors decide what treatment is right for patients after the initial diagnosis.  Other forms of cancer were not included in the study so there is little to say that stress would affect them in the same way.

Relieving stress can be as simple as going for a walk.  Without walking vigorously, the body will calm and allow the heartbeat to slow, while at the same time reducing the amount of stress on the entire body.  Some enjoy yoga, which can be very relaxing and great for the body.  Removing stress from your life might include a new job, moving to a new city or even just reducing the amount of caffeine that you consume.  Many things that have to do with stress can be part of your normal diet.  Staying healthy and stress free might not be easy, but if the study about stress and prostate cancer produces results that can be measured, removing stress from your body might be the top thing on your list regardless of how much work it takes. 

So far the doctors that are taking part in the study have only found the results in mouse models injected with human cancer tissues.  The studies are ongoing, but things are starting to come together.  Because so many things can be affected by stress, including illness, doctors are on the right track to study the effect on cancer cells.  Some drugs that are taken for various other illnesses, called beta-blockers, are part of the study and in some cases show that there was an improved survival rate for prostate cancer patients.  That could be attributed to the fact that beta-blockers block noradrenaline receptors, the main stress hormone.

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Going to the doctor to get checked for cancer is not something that anyone wants to go through.  The process can be devastating to your mental state and if you are diagnosed with any type of cancer your life can flash before your eyes.  With the advancements in technology and medicine, there are more ways to detect certain types of cancer early enough, allow patients to live longer.  One of the most common cancers for men is prostate cancer.  There is new research that suggests that men with metastasized prostate cancer could benefit from getting chemotherapy early than recommended.  Often times, when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, they want to put off chemotherapy as long as possible and that is usually with a doctors approval.  The new study is showing that men that schedule and get chemotherapy right away, actually live longer than those that elect to skip early treatments.

Many men will go into treatment by keeping an eye on the tumors before they are going to start hormone therapy.  At that point, once the tumor becomes resistant to the hormone therapy, the chemotherapy is the next phase.  By this time, the tumor might have grown and that is part of the reason for not living as long.  The research showed that half of the 790 that participated did chemo right away and in the end the study found that they lived longer by more than one year.  Once cancer is in the body and spreads around the actual amount of time that you have to live can vary greatly.  The study’s findings have not been proven yet, but if they are to be, the way prostate cancer is treated could change.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer has been around since the 1950’s and this is the first study that finds that prolonging survival is possible with another treatment method.  Prostate cancer is often boosted by things like testosterone, so when diagnosed with a cancer of the prostate, the first step has always been to go on hormone therapy to try and get the cancer under control.  The treatment works in the early stages, but then the cancer starts to resist the treatment and that is when the next step is required.  In the same study it was found that the use of docetaxel delayed the progression of cancer as well.  Typical numbers included cancer progression within 19 months, while those that were on hormone therapy and docetaxel did not see progression until the 32nd month. 

Prostate cancer is  most commonly found in men, over the age of 60 that are African American.  The risk is even greater if the person has a father or brother that also was diagnosed with the same cancer.  Risks were also found in those that work in tire plants, painters, have been around Agent Orange or cadmium, obese men and those that have a diet high in animal fat.  The cases have been fewer in those that do not eat meat, or that commonly follow a vegetarian diet.  Symptoms of prostate cancer can vary between men, but most common include delayed urine stream, slow stream and blood found in the semen or urine.

If you think that you have to be checked for prostate cancer, the doctor will likely order a digital rectal exam.  After that, a biopsy might be required and that will be recommended if you have a high level of PSA.  If the rectal exam reveals a hard or uneven surface, the same test could be ordered by your doctor. 

Typical treatments for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, brachytherapy, proton therapy and chemotherapy.  Each state of the prostate cancer is different and depending on when it is found, could determine the treatment methods that are available to you.  Cancer is a very tough sickness to cure, but if the prostate is the only place the cancer is, a cure is possible.  If the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, the odds will be far less adding to the importance of early detection of the prostate cancer or any other cancer that might be in your body.

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HIFU which stands for high intensity focused ultrasound is a form of therapy administered by Central Florida HIFU doctors from Urology Health Solutions, Inc. that uses thermal energy that is highly focused to cells that suffer a particular pathology such as tumors with an aim of destroying them by burning. Central Florida HIFU surgeons mainly employ this technique also known as thermal ablative therapy to treat tumors. The process needs to be complemented with other imaging modalities to aid in precision so that normal tissues are free from injury.

Recently the surgeons are turning to the use of cryotherapy which is lesser painful with less likelihood of causing injury. Cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperature to freeze and therefore damage the abnormal cells. It involves directing an ablative needle to target tissue which then administers highly compressed argon gas that is alternated with helium gas. The argon gas has a very high cooling effect that causes the tip of the needle to become ice cold and thus freezing all the surrounding tissues.

Helium on the other hand has a warming effect, once passed in exchange for argon; it slowly causes thawing of the cells that had solidified from freezing. The process is then repeated causing a freezing and thawing cycle. This is very important to ensure maximum effectiveness of the therapy.

The treatment is able to achieve the destruction effect by causing immense stress on the cell with the rapid fall in temperature that does not allow the cells to slowly adapt to the changes. The first stage of lowering temperature to about zero degrees freezes the outside environment that harbors the cells. This causes them to shrink and in the process be destroyed. As the temperatures drop further, the internal environment also gets frozen destroying the integrity of internal structures causing complete damage.

The freezing part of the cycles must take at least 10 minutes to adequately destroy the cells that may be resistant in the first few minutes. The function of the slow thawing effect caused by helium is to prime the cells for another cycle of freezing so that all cells that might escaped the first attack are targeted.

There is a shifting trend by surgeons to the use of this kind of therapy because of the minimal patient invasion involved. Unlike most surgeries that usually involves cutting the skin to open up to patient and exercising the abnormal tumor tissues, this therapy involve a needle injection directly to the target site. This decreases the needs for admitting patients and prolonged hospital stays after operations. Patients also prefer this mode of treatment because it is less painful.

Cryotherapy was first used by a physician called Dr. James Arnott from England in the mid 1850s.he used salt solutions which he mixed with frozen ice crystals to freeze patients who had tumors in the breast, skin and cervix. The numbing effect made the process be used as an alternative in anesthesia but was later improved into a therapeutic technique.

Central Florida HIFU Surgeons are increasingly using cryotherapy to treat many forms of cancers. Most urologists have employed it in managing both renal and prostate tumors. There is more research being done to determine the effectiveness and side effects of using this form of therapy for treating other tumors like those involving sensitive organs like the live and bones to estimate the benefits. Contact an experienced Central Florida HIFU doctor from Urology Health Solutions, Inc. and stay informed.

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