Continuing on from last week, we are discussing options for post-prostate cancer treatment when PSA levels remain high or increase. In the case, that following surgery your PSA levels are 0.2ng/mL or higher, or following radiation therapy 2ng/mL or higher, it’s important to consider options.
These could be signs of prostate cancer returning or having spread to another part of the body. It’s important to undergo an evaluation if these results surface, your doctor would recommend this if this was the case.
So if this does happen, what are our options?
Is additional treatment necessary following prostate surgery?
Under some circumstances, after surgery, patients undergo adjuvant radiation therapy. This is one of the additional therapies that patients can undergo post-surgery. In most cases, where this treatment is applicable, it is done 4-6 months after the surgery. Additionally, doctors perform this surgery before acquiring PSA results, as a preemptive measure.
Cases in which doctors might use this treatment out of the gate include particularly aggressive cases of prostate cancer, where the patient is severely at risk of recurrence or death from cancer. For instance, cases of prostate cancer where it has spread to seminal vesicles, or if the cancer has spread farther than the prostate capsule.
When considering undergoing adjuvant radiation therapy, it’s also important to consider the risks. When possible it’s better to let the urinary organs and system to recover after surgery. Fortunately, lots of men can avoid adjuvant radiation therapy post-surgery in relative safety. However, they must continue to monitor their PSA levels closely, staying in communication with their doctors.
Is hormone therapy an option when PSA levels rise?
Yes, in fact, hormone therapy can be quite advantageous in the sense that testosterone contributes to the growth of cancer cells. Therefore, lowering a patient’s testosterone levels can make the body an environment less conducive to cancer growth.
Unfortunately, however, not every type of prostate cancer cell is sensitive to a low testosterone environment. Some can adapt over time and continue to grow. Hence, why doctors usually recommend hormone therapy on a case-by-case basis. They base it on PSA levels and their doubling time.
Doctors also take into consideration how far the cancer has spread. This is in order to ascertain whether the risks of the treatment are worth undergoing considering the circumstances.
Check our resources section for further information. Where you can also find inspiration from success and survival stories, or we can help you connect with a prostate cancer survivor.
Or if you are interested in joining any support groups check out one of our earlier posts. Here we discuss the benefits of prostate cancer support groups and finding the right one for you.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk, call us at our toll-free hotline: 1(833)HEAL-MEN. You are not alone in this journey. We are here to help guide and support you through it, every step of the way.