Technologies for treating various forms of cancer are being researched and improved all the time, improving survival rates and reducing the risks involved in undergoing the treatments themselves.
To bring you up to speed with the latest developments, here is an examination of just a few breakthroughs that have been made in the area of prostate cancer.
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For some patients, surgery is still the best option for treating prostate cancer, and the introduction of robot-assisted surgery is an especially meaningful step forward.
While human surgeons are still essential to this process, the involvement of robotics means that much smaller incisions can be made, and the precision of the process is greatly increased. This not only makes the procedure far less challenging in the moment but also decreases the recovery time and minimizes the side effects as well.
Being able to predict which people are more likely to develop prostate cancer before it even emerges is a powerful way of preventing it and treating it as soon as possible, which is where the latest research into genetic changes comes into play.
Scientists are studying genes to see which abnormalities are associated with this type of cancer and ultimately develop medicines that will be able to target and counteract these changes.
Likewise in the wake of a diagnosis, the analysis of the genes of a patient can be used to create a roadmap for their treatment, giving physicians and specialists a clearer idea of what next steps to take.
Advanced radiation therapy
Radiation therapy has long been used as a means of treating cancers, but it is becoming a better option in the case of prostate patients because of the enhancement of the technologies involved in pinpointing the areas which are exposed to it.
One example of this is CyberKnife, which in spite of its alarming name is actually an iteration of radiotherapy that is more accurate than any of its predecessors. It can apply a dose of radiation at almost any angle, so the surrounding tissues are left unaffected while only the tumor is subjected to the impact of the radiation.
There are lots of other modern approaches, all capable of keeping unnecessary exposure to a minimum while maximizing the effectiveness of this treatment.
Like radiation therapy, the purpose of HIFU, or high-intensity focused ultrasound, is to deal with cancerous cells without the need for traditional surgical intervention. However, in this case, there is no need to rely on harmful radiation, but instead, an ultrasonic pulse is put to work to disrupt and destroy the tumor.
This is an early-stage treatment, yet one which is potentially promising for the future. Ultimately all of these technologies should give hope to men who are currently suffering from prostate cancer, or to those who have it in the family and so may be predisposed to contracting it at some point in their life because treatment has never been more effective or gentle.