PROSTATE CANCER DEFINITIONS
Active Surveillance is when a physician carefully monitors the progress of a patient’s prostate cancer. Usually, this method of treatment for prostate cancer is used only when the prostate cancer is very slow growing. The patient’s PSA (Prostate-Specific-Antigen) level is checked regularly and if the PSA level starts to rise then other treatment options are explored.
Hormone therapy treatment is used to lower the level of male hormones, called androgens, in the body. Androgens are primarily made in the testicles. When the body has lower amounts of androgens in the body, it can cause prostate cancer to shrink or grow more slowly. Hormone treatment for prostate cancer will not cure the prostate cancer, but it will control the growth of the cancer.
Brachytherapy is a type of radiation treatment for prostate cancer that works from inside the body to kill prostate cancer cells. Brachytherapy is also called internal radiation therapy or seed implantation. Brachytherapy is used to treat prostate cancer in its early stages when it has not moved out of the prostate gland.
Chemotherapy is the use of powerful anti-cancer drugs to kill prostate cancer cells. When prostate cancer begins to grow while a patient is having hormone therapy, the patient’s doctor may suggest chemotherapy as a treatment option. While chemotherapy will not cure the prostate cancer, it may slow the cancer’s growth. Prostate cancer patients should discuss the potential risks and benefits of this type of treatment with their doctor.
External beam radiation therapy is when a doctor uses a computer to plan the exact dose (or amount) of radiation that is aimed at a patient’s prostate cancer. During this radiation treatment for prostate cancer, the computer uses information about the size, shape, and location of the prostate cancer to figure out how much radiation is needed to kill the prostate cancer cells. High doses of radiation are used to kill prostate cancer cells while protecting the healthy cells that surround the prostate cancer.
Radical prostatectomy is a surgery where a surgeon removes the entire prostate gland and surrounding lymph nodes.
Nurse Case Management is coordinating all aspects of a patient’s prostate cancer treatment as well as other services provided by IMPACT.