Information on follow-up care and coping strategies following prostate cancer treatment
Whether patients opt for conventional methods such as radiotherapy or a radical prostatectomy (RP), or for newer methods such as TULSA (which carries a lower risk of side effects), patients will undergo regular check-ups following their treatment to ensure that any relapses are detected at an early stage. Follow-up care begins no later than twelve weeks after the treatment. According to the German Cancer Society, 93 percent of all prostate cancer patients are still alive after five years . If new tumours develop following treatment, they may be a local recurrence at the surgical site or they may be a metastases in other parts of the body.
What does follow-up care involve after prostate surgery?
During follow-up examinations, the main thing bring tested is the patient’s PSA level. If the patients PSA level is found to be elevated, a digital examination is performed. Follow-up care also includes providing physical, psychological and social support for the patient, particularly if they are suffering from side effects, such as urinary incontinence or impotence which are are mainly caused by conventional methods such as radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy. Studies into the use of the TULSA method show that patients who receive this treatment tend to be less affected by typical side effects. In the first and second year after therapy, follow-up examinations are usually scheduled every three months. In the third and fourth year, the check-ups take place every six months. If the patient has not suffered a relapse after four years, check-ups are scheduled annually.
Prostate cancer — How can you quality of life following therapy?
Patients who are affected by side-effects such as incontinence and impotence following therapy often find these side-effects difficult to cope with, and as a result they may suffer considerably even when the side effects are temporary. When such side-effects occur with a patient, follow-up care should go beyond just the medical treatment of these side effects, but also on the psychological problems that may be associated with them. Active relaxation, physical activity, visiting a support group and talking to others who are affected can help patients in managing the disease and its consequences.
 German Cancer Society: Patientenratgeber Prostatakrebs (Patient advice booklet for prostate cancer). 2nd, updated version, Berlin, September 2014, page 15.
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