The classic treatment methods for prostate cancer are prostatectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the prostate gland), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. But in recent years, new methods have been developed that have become an alternative to the classic ones or can be used in cases where standard methods of fighting cancer no longer work. Let’s discuss the main options for alternative prostate cancer treatment that are used abroad.
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High-intensity focused ultrasound
In recent years, many hospitals have been using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as an alternative to surgery and radiotherapy. Unlike surgery, this technique is non-invasive. Unlike radiation therapy, it does not damage healthy tissues with radiation, and therefore is not associated with the risk of post-radiation complications (including problems with urinary control and erection).
The essence of the procedure is to destroy a tumor by exposing it to ultrasound. It is more intense than the one used in the diagnostics of the disease. Ultrasonic waves heat and destroy cancer cells.
The procedure is performed under anesthesia. But still, this is not a surgical intervention, so the recovery time after it is minimal. Doctors in foreign medical centers use the French Ablatherm device or the American Sonablate 500 V5 TCM to conduct HIFU. The procedure is carried out under the guidance of MRI and temperature measurements in the rectum to reduce the risk of complications.
HIFU is as effective as surgery and radiation therapy. It is undesirable to use the technique only for highly aggressive tumors, but such neoplasms rarely affect the prostate.
End-stage prostate cancer is usually treated with hormone therapy. If this treatment option is not effective, chemotherapy can be used instead. Sometimes both methods can be used simultaneously.
But what if hormone therapy and chemotherapy can no longer curb the progression of the disease? In such situations, doctors usually switch to symptomatic treatment. But if you opt to undergo your treatment abroad, there is an alternative. Immunotherapy with a dendritic cell-based vaccine helps to increase the patient’s life expectancy.
At the preparatory stage, leukocytes are isolated from the patient’s blood. They are cultured with a recombinant protein, and then, 3-4 days after blood sampling, these are administered intravenously. A total of three doses of the vaccine are needed. They are administered at an interval of 2 weeks.
The treatment is well tolerated, although there may be short-term flu-like symptoms. This treatment method is safer than chemotherapy and can be combined with it.
Radionuclide and radiotargeted therapy
If neither chemotherapy nor hormone therapy no longer works, the best clinics for prostate cancer treatment use radionuclide methods.
Treatment of prostate cancer with bone metastases is carried out with Xofigo. This is radioactive radium, which accumulates in bones by binding to hydroxyapatite, a mineral component of bone tissue. The radiation spreads over a short distance, so it irradiates metastases, but practically does not damage the bone marrow.
Treatment of prostate cancer with visceral (located in the organs) metastases is carried out with Lutetium-177. Doctors inject a radiopharmaceutical consisting of a ligand and a radionuclide into a patient’s vein. Ligands deliver radioactive substances to cancer cells as they bind to PSMA (prostate specific membrane antigen). This molecule is found in large quantities in cancer cells, but there is almost no PSMA in healthy tissues. The drug is administered once every 8 weeks. It reduces all malignant foci in the body, and sometimes a complete response can be achieved as well, that is, all tumors disappear.
If standard cancer treatments are not effective, you can travel abroad for alternative treatment options. You are welcome to use the Booking Health website to find the prices for diagnostics and treatment, compare the cost, and make a treatment appointment at a hospital at the best price. The specialists from the Booking Health company will select the most suitable clinics in Germany and take care of the arrangement of your trip.