Radical Prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate)
- Disadvantages — This treatment includes a hospital stay. Most often older men do not tolerate this type of procedure well.
- Side effects — include impotence and stress urinary incontinence in a considerable number of patients.
- Advantages — surgery is a one-time procedure that may cure early prostate cancer.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
- Disadvantages — include two months of daily visits to the radiation oncology center. There is still a risk of impotence but not as high as Radical Prostatectomy.
- Side effects — healthy surrounding tissue can suffer radiation damage. There are also number of complications including skin reactions, rectal irritation or bleeding, diarrhea, upset stomach, frequent and uncomfortable urination and fatigue.
- Advantages — external beam radiation therapy has a good cure rate for early prostate cancer and no hospitalization is needed.
Radioactive Seed Implants
- Disadvantages — there are few published results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the implant treatments after 10 years, although early results are promising.
- Side effects — Within four to six weeks, side effects usually fade. The most common problems include urinary frequency, burning with urination, blockage of urinary flow and soreness in the area of the implant.
- Advantages — less risk of impotence, and less risk of urinary complications. Recovery time is shorter because patient does not require a surgical incision. Since this is an outpatient procedure, patients can return to normal activities in just a few days.