Travelling abroad with prostate cancer
Anyone suffering from prostate cancer can comfortably travel abroad to Latvia for a wide range of diagnosis and treatments
Prostate cancer diagnosis for one in three men over 60
One in three men aged over 60 are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. For men aged over 70, this figure rises to 40%. Early stage prostate cancer can be symptomless. All men over the age of 45 should regularly be screened for the disease.
Cancer diagnostics and cancer treatment abroad
If a tumour is discovered or suspected, the urologist treating the patient in Latvia will decide on the most suitable diagnostic examination to determine the stage of any tumour and the best treatment tactic. Cancer diagnostic procedures include PET, MRI, computed tomography, X-ray, ultrasound, and biopsy.
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Here is a quick overview of the diagnostics available in Latvia when travelling abroad with prostate cancer or to check for the symptoms:
Digital PET/CT examination provides unprecedented opportunities to detect even the most minor foci. This examination procedure has been available in Latvia since 2016. A PET/CT makes it possible to diagnose prostate cancer metastases precisely and early.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) is an immunoreactive substance, which only forms in prostate tissue. An increase in its amount within blood serum can indicate prostate cancer.
Digital rectal examination (DRE), enables the urologist to determine a tumour’s form and dimensions.
Trans rectal sonography is a special ultrasonographic probe with which the prostate is viewed through the rectum. Using ultrasonography, a doctor will evaluate structural changes and the density of the prostate gland.
Prostate biopsy involves the use of a thin needle to remove 10 to 12 tissue samples from the prostate. A biopsy is carried out if there is suspicion of a tumour or PSA blood levels are high.
Skeletal scintigraphy is used to determine the spread of the tissue within bones.
Magnetic resonance is used to determine the spread of a tumour within the prostate and pelvic lymph nodes.
Computer tomography is used to determine the spread of a tumour within the bones and small pelvis.
Treatment for Prostate cancer
The following surgery options are available in Latvia for prostate cancer treatment:
During Robot assisted surgery, surgical instruments are inserted into the abdominal cavity through a small skin incision.
Laparoscopic arm assisted surgery is when surgical instruments are placed in the abdominal cavity through small skin incisions and tumours removed through skin incision.
CyberKnife® robotic radiosurgery is the most advanced robotic system in Eastern Europe. This type of external radiation therapy is now recognised as the most effective and safest method for treating low or moderate risk primary prostate cancer and is the least likely to detrimentally affect a patient’s quality of life.
It is used for treating tumours during stages I and II and is fast and painless. Usually, the patient undergoes five 45-60 minute treatment sessions over the course of one week.
This method is recommended for patients for whom surgical treatment is unsuitable and in cases when the side effects of surgical treatment could significantly affect the quality of a man’s life. The results of 10 years of studies into this method indicate it is equally effective to surgical treatment and is more effective than external radiation treatment.
Radiation therapy is treatment with high energy rays to kill or weaken cancer cells. Sometimes, radiation therapy is chosen as the first treatment method for low degree prostate cancer, which has not spread outside the prostate or only affects adjoining tissue. If the cancer is already at an advanced stage, radiation therapy can help to reduce the size of the tumour and pain.
Radiation therapy is an alternative method to surgery. This method is recommended for older patients or patients who do not want to undergo surgical treatment and is much less commonly used than in the past. There can be complications during radiation therapy but thanks to advances in technology, these have been reduced to a minimum.
Internal prostate radiation or brachytherapy has less marked side effects that external radiation therapy, because adjoining organs are less affected. This method is effective for treating tumours during stages I and II.
Hormone therapy reduces male gender hormone levels in the blood. By reducing Androgen levels, prostate cancer can be reduced or significantly slowed. Cancer can be controlled with hormone therapy, but not eradicated.
Chemotherapy is the use of medicines that kill cancer cells. Medicines are injected into a vein or taken in tablet form. Chemotherapy is used for prostate cancer treatment when cancer cells have spread throughout the body and hormone therapy is not effective. Just as with hormone therapy, chemotherapy cannot be used to destroy all cancer cells, but it can slow down the growth of the tumour and reduce symptoms, thus providing a higher quality of life.
What are treatment costs for prostate cancer treatment abroad in Latvia?
CyberKnife® robotic radiosurgery treatments from 9,000-11,000 €
Urologist consultation 40 €
Oncologist consultation 80 €
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