The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 7, 2010

Options available for prostate cancer


— DANVILLE —- A diagnosis of prostate cancer is overwhelming on its own, but so is the array of treatment options.

According to the National Cancer Institute, this year more than 200,000 men, along with their doctors, will need to select the treatment option that is right for them, and it is not always an easy decision.

"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' treatment for prostate cancer," said Daniel Rukstalis, M.D., a urologist with Geisinger Medical Center. "Patients need to learn about the many options available and, in conjunction with their doctor, make a decision about what's best for them."

Treatments range from active surveillance, or watchful waiting, to surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

"Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on the stage and aggression of the cancer, in addition to the patient's age and general health," Dr. Rukstalis said. "Patients should also take into account their own feelings and their doctor's medical opinion about the most appropriate care."

One of the most common treatments for prostate cancer involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland, known as a radical prostatectomy. Geisinger's Prostate Center offers a less invasive procedure called the da Vinci prostatectomy, a robotic surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to see vital anatomical structures more clearly in order to perform a more precise surgical procedure.

Radiation and chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer, or hormone therapy to control the cancer, also are viable treatment methods.

"There is still some uncertainty about the right therapies for many men and whether some even need immediate therapy," Dr. Rukstalis said. "Patients need to have honest, open discussion with their doctor to determine the best course of action for them."