Prostate problems and prostate cancer have been around for many centuries. Problems in the prostate are thought to be caused by the male hormone testosterone that is mainly produced in the prostate gland.
Testosterone is what cancer cells need to continue growing in the prostate gland. In years past, the only treatment for prostate cancer was thought to be an orchiectomy, the removal of the mans testicles.
An orchiectomy is rarely done today but in rare occasions may be performed to treat an advanced prostate cancer. The surgery can be done on an outpatient basis or with a short overnight hospital stay. A patient may go back to their regular activities within one to two weeks and resume all normal activities in two to four weeks.
This radical treatment may be done to relieve symptoms, prevent other more serious complications, or help prolong life in prostate cancer patients. If the testicles are removed, radiation therapy may be needed as well. This procedure does not cure prostate cancer! It will prolong life for an advanced prostate cancer patient. It will cause tumors to shrink and helps relieve pain.
There are risks with this form of surgery as with any other surgery. The patient will be sterile and probably lose interest in sex. He will have problems keeping or having an erection. The patient may also have hot flashes, enlarged breasts, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass.
Another risk after an orchiectomy is for the patient to suffer from osteoporosis. Remember this is considered to be a last resort treatment and is rarely performed.
Hormone therapy has the same effect as orchiectomy with one major difference. You can stop taking hormones and all the risks will go away. An orchiectomy is permanent and cannot be reversed. Hormone therapy consists of taking pills daily or having an injection of hormones every one to four weeks.
Science and Progress
In the past an orchiectomy was the only known way to combat prostate cancer or other prostate problems. Research has come a long way in finding ways of treating an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer. If it is necessary to have the testicles removed, plastic surgery can be done to replace the testicles with artificial ones.
Doctors now have many rests and other resources available to them in this generation. New forms of treatment, and diagnostic tools enable doctors to discover prostate problems or cancer before it has progressed to the point where the testicles need to be removed to prolong life.
If you experience any of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems, see your doctor immediately. You may be referred to a urologist who specializes in urinary tract and reproductive problems.
If you are a man over 50, ask your doctor to make a prostate exam a part of your yearly physical exam. If you are someone who has a higher risk for prostate cancer, begin having yearly exams by the age of 45. Any urinary problems should be check by a doctor.