The diagnosis of prostate cancer will mean a man will have many decisions to make and one of the most important decisions is whether to treat it with surgery or radiation.
A decision of this magnitude must not be taken lightly and a man will need to do his research. A thorough discussion with his urologist and or oncologist on the pros and cons of each can guide a man on deciding what direction is best for him and his overall health.
At the time of diagnosis, prostate cancer will be staged according to how much cancer a patient has, if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to surrounding tissues and what their prostate specific antigen (PSA) level is.
If the prostate cancer has not spread into surrounding tissue besides the prostate and is considered localized just within the prostate, several studies have shown indicating that prostate cancer patients who have localized prostate cancer do better with surgery versus radiation treatment. The reason is that patients treated with radiation are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer and one and a half times more likely to die sooner than men who had prostate cancer treated with surgery.
In addition, a man who has radiation over surgery may be exposing himself to developing a secondary cancer such as bladder cancer or rectal cancer due to the possible side effects from radiation to that area of the body. If a man chooses radiation over surgery and the cancer comes back, it is extremely difficult to perform surgery after radiation.
Another factor men need to consider is if the cancer is found only in the prostate, men who have their prostate removed with surgery have almost a 100% survival rate. However, if a man chooses radiation over surgery first and then finds out the cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, the chances or a man living longer than 5 years is less than 30%.
Finding a qualified and experienced surgeon is another very important factor when considering surgery to remove the prostate. A man should always ask a surgeon about his experience and number of successful surgeries for prostate cancer he has performed regarding rate of cancer return, urinary continence and sexual function after the removal of the prostate.
Bottom line, all men diagnosed with prostate cancer should find a qualified, experienced urologist/oncologist who will guide them through this journey providing individualized care helping them make the best decision for him and his family.