There are many prostate cancer treatment choices to consider. Learning about all available treatment options for your prostate cancer will help you make the right decision for you. There is no blanket treatment plan. Here are some ways you can become more informed on treatment options, advances in treatment, and possible side effects of treatment so you can make an informed choice:
- Find a treatment team you are comfortable with
- Ask questions
- Understand the stage and grade of your tumor
- Do your own research
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion
- Find out how different treatments can affect your life
Have you been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer? Visit our advanced prostate cancer section to learn more.
Types of Prostate Cancer Treatment
Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting
- With active surveillance and watchful waiting, the doctor monitors your cancer through regular tests to watch for signs that the cancer may be changing, growing, or spreading. This is usually an option for men with a low Gleason score, early-stage, and non-aggressive cancer.
- The main type of surgery for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy, or a full removal of the prostate.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target the prostate and any surrounding areas with cancer or at risk of cancer.
- Cryotherapy for prostate cancer freezes prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. This type of treatment is sometimes used as an alternative to surgical removal of the prostate gland.
- Ultrasound is a minimally invasive and precise procedure that involves aiming ultrasound waves directly at the prostate tumor, heating the tumor cells to a very high temperature in order to ablate (destroy) them.
- Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is also called Androgen Deprivation Therapy, or ADT. Androgens, primarily testosterone, stimulate prostate cancer growth, so lowering androgen levels or stopping them from getting to the prostate cancer cells often slows the growth. Hormone therapy alone does not cure prostate cancer in the long-term.
- Immunotherapy uses a person’s own immune cells to attack the prostate cancer.
- Targeted therapy for prostate cancer is a type of therapy that identifies, or “targets”, a particular genetic mutation in the tumor, with the goal of interfering with the specific molecules that drive the growth of the tumor. A targeted therapy approach is a form of personalized cancer treatment and is often times associated with fewer side effects than other treatments.
- Chemotherapy is a type of prostate cancer treatment that is used to kill cancer cells that are dividing quickly. They are given intravenously (through the veins) or orally (as a pill), depending on the drug. Because chemotherapy also attacks other cells in the body, this treatment is often associated with significant side effects.
Other items to consider:
Should I choose surgery or radiation for my prostate cancer?
For men deciding between surgery and radiation for prostate cancer treatment, click here to read an article in U.S. News & World Report that may help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Genomic testing and prostate cancer
Genomic tests can help determine how aggressive your prostate cancer is, and this may influence your treatment decisions. Genomic testing can also help you and your doctor learn more about how your cancer might behave. By looking at the genetic makeup of the cancer, these tests may help predict whether your prostate cancer grows slowly or aggressively, therefore influencing treatment decisions.
Content last updated: 6/15/21