There are many treatment options for metastatic prostate cancer. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy, but when all these techniques become ineffective, PSMA therapy comes to the rescue. This is a radionuclide technique, in which a radiopharmaceutical administered intravenously selectively accumulates in cancer cells and destroys them.
The essence of this technique
The radionuclide Lu177 (lutetium) is used for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. It is a beta emitter. This agent is related to prostate-specific membrane antigen. It affects cancer cells. Since PSMA is marked by radioactive lutetium, tumor tissues become irradiated and die.
The advantages of the technique:
- it can be used both for the diagnostics and treatment of tumors;
- it binds to malignant cells, wherever they are in the body, so the doctors can achieve good results in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer;
- high safety of the technique and its good tolerability.
The performance of the procedure
A person undergoes the diagnostics. It involves not only the assessment of the clinical symptoms of prostate cancer, but also CT or MRI, scintigraphy, laboratory tests. It is forbidden to eat fatty foods and alcohol a few days before the procedure.
During PSMA therapy, the drug is injected to a patient intravenously. It is done at the hospital, under the supervision of a physician. The procedure can be performed several times. Before the injection of Lutetium-177 PSMA, the salivary glands and kidneys are cooled. It is due to the fact that these organs can accumulate radiopharmaceuticals.
The duration of the course depends on the stage of prostate cancer, the number of metastases, the size of the main tumor and metastatic foci, their interactions with other anatomical structures, histological tumor type, the severity of the symptoms of prostate cancer and body's response to the treatment. Lutetium-177 PSMA is usually injected several times, after which the doctors carry out a control scintigraphy. After the diagnostics, the doctor decides whether the prostate cancer treatment should be continued or it may be completed.
Prior to the treatment, the patients are always interested in whether there will be serious side effects, whether the prostate cancer symptoms will worsen.
PSMA therapy is not a 100% safe method. However, radionuclide treatment is usually better tolerated by patients than chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Sometimes, it gives side effects, but all undesirable effects are not severe and irreversible. It is possible to compensate them by the administration of additional drugs.
In order to avoid the severe treatment effects, all patients are carefully examined prior to the treatment. They undergo kidney ultrasound examination and biochemical blood test. During the treatment, the doctors perform the necessary measures in order to minimize the risks of negative effects of the injection of Lutetium 177-PSMA. They carry out the following procedures:
- cool the kidneys and salivary glands;
- administer drugs in order to prevent or relieve side effects;
- intravenously inject crystalloid solutions;
- in the case of liver metastases, the patient will undergo stenting in order to prevent cholestasis.
If the doctors suspect that the procedure will significantly harm the patient, may cause symptoms of renal or hepatic failure, the injection of the radiopharmaceutical agent will be canceled.
Medical treatment abroad
Most countries cannot provide the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer with Lutetium-177, since it is a new technique available only in developed countries. Therefore, many people have to undergo treatment abroad in order to take an advantage of this therapy.
The cost of treatment abroad is often higher but medical services are provided with better quality. Therefore, despite the higher cost of treatment, the patients from other countries very often visit such countries as Germany in order to undergo prostate cancer treatment. This country provides the following benefits when treating this disease:
- Availability of the very latest techniques.
- Highly qualified oncologists and urologists.
- High-quality surgical interventions.
- Modern radiation therapy techniques.
- Combination of different treatment methods in order to achieve the best results.
- Low risk of complications.
- Low perioperative and postoperative mortality.
Organization of treatment
The high costs of medical treatment abroad do not stop those people who want to take an advantage of achievements of modern medicine and oncology. They still visit Germany or other developed countries to undergo prostate cancer treatment. The Booking Health company can organize a trip for you. We offer medical treatment abroad in the best German hospitals. PSMA therapy is used in the following medical facilities:
- University Hospital Cologne.
- University Hospital Saarland Homburg.
- University Hospital Würzburg.
- University Hospital RWTH Aachen.
The employees of the Booking Health company will select the best hospital for you based on the annual qualification profile. While choosing the medical facility, we take into account specialization, treatment effectiveness, risk of complications, prices and other factors.
You will receive the following benefits:
- reduced treatment costs – we will agree on the absence of coefficients for foreign patients;
- establishment of communication with the hospital;
- preparation of the treatment program taking into account previous examinations;
- booking the appointment on the convenient date for you, reduction of waiting time for the treatment;
- full control of the program at all its stages;
- help in forwarding of medicines;
- communication with the hospital after program completion;
- organization of additional diagnostic procedures;
- control of invoices and return of unspent funds.
Our high-level service includes the provision of an interpreter, assistance in the preparation of documents, meeting at the German airport and transfer to the hospital. Upon the treatment completion, we will provide a return transfer.