Early Stage Prostate Cancer--What Are Your Options?

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By: Will Fitzgerald, MD Anderson Staff Writer

Yesterday, famed investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett announced he had stage 1 prostate cancer. 

While any cancer is certainly cause for concern, prostate cancer is generally slow growing, and several options are available for men depending on their situation.

Andrew Lee M.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, says stage 1 prostate cancer is localized and has not spread to other parts of the body.  Patients are often treated with surgery, external beam radiation or using brachytherapy, a radioactive implant surgically placed near the tumor.  For select patients, active surveillance is often recommended depending on their age and other personal risk factors.

Proton therapy, a highly advanced and targeted form of radiation therapy, also offers significant benefit for patients as it deposits radiation while sparing healthy tissue.  MD Anderson's Proton Therapy Center is one of only ten in the United States that offers this treatment.

However, Lee underscores that while the latest technology is important, it's not the only factor that influences a patient's treatment and results.

"At MD Anderson, we have a lot of different technologies available and one of the things I always tell my trainees is that technology is not the most important factor," he says.  "It's the people using the technology and applying it appropriately.  Just because you have a fast car doesn't mean you're a race car driver."

To learn more about treatment options for prostate cancer

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