Different types of treatment are available for prostate cancer. You and your doctor will decide which treatment is right for you. Some common treatments are—
- Active surveillance (watchful waiting): This consists of closely monitoring the patient's prostate cancer by performing the PSA and DRE tests regularly, and treating it only if and when the prostate cancer causes symptoms or shows signs of growing.
- Surgery (radical prostatectomy): Prostatectomy is surgery to remove the prostate completely. Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate as well as the surrounding tissue.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation destroys cancer cells, or prevents them from growing, by directing high-energy X-rays (radiation) at the prostate. There are two types of radiation therapy—
- External radiation therapy: A machine outside the body directs radiation at the cancer cells.
- Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy): Radioactive seeds or pellets are surgically placed into or near the cancer to destroy the cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment uses drugs, surgery, or other hormones to remove male sex hormones or block them from working, which prevents cancer cells from growing.
Other therapies used in the treatment of prostate cancer that are still under investigation include—
- Cryotherapy: Placing a special probe inside or near the prostate cancer to freeze and kill the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Using special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given through an intravenous (IV) tube, or, sometimes, both.
- Biological therapy: This treatment works with your body's immune system to help it fight cancer or to control side effects from other cancer treatments. Side effects are how your body reacts to drugs or other treatments. Biological therapy is different from chemotherapy, which attacks cancer cells directly.
- High-intensity focused ultrasound: This therapy directs high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) at the cancer to kill cancer cells.
For more information, visit the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Prostate Cancer Treatment Option Overview. This site can also help you find a doctor or treatment facility that works in cancer care. Visit Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment for more information about treatment and links that can help with treatment choices.
If you have prostate cancer, you may want to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials study new treatment options to see if they are safe and effective. Visit the sites listed below for more information about clinical trials.
- NIH Clinical Research Trials and You (National Institutes of Health)
- Educational Materials About Clinical Trials (National Cancer Institute)
- Search for Clinical Trials (National Cancer Institute)
- ClinicalTrials.gov (National Institutes of Health)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary medicine is a group of medicines and practices that may be used in addition to the standard treatments for cancer. Alternative medicine means practices or medicines that are used instead of the usual, or standard, ways of treating cancer. Examples of complementary and alternative medicine are meditation, yoga, and dietary supplements like vitamins and herbs.
Complementary and alternative medicine does not treat prostate cancer, but may help lessen the side effects of the cancer treatments or of the cancer symptoms. It is important to note that many forms of complementary and alternative medicines have not been scientifically tested and may not be safe. Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of complementary or alternative medicine.
Which Treatment Is Right for Me?
Choosing which kind of treatment is right for you may be hard. If you have prostate cancer, be sure to talk to your doctor about the treatment options available for your type and stage of cancer. Doctors can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and their side effects. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers a treatment guide titled "Treating Prostate Cancer: A Guide for Men With Localized Prostate Cancer."
Sometimes people get an opinion from more than one doctor. This is called a "second opinion." Getting a second opinion may help you choose the treatment option that is right for you.
NIHSeniorHealth Prostate Cancer Video
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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- Contact CDC-INFO