Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on multiple factors, including the cancer’s stage. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy.
According to the
Effective treatment is often possible for prostate cancer, especially if a person receives a diagnosis in the early stages of the disease.
This article explains the different treatment options for prostate cancer, the outcomes, and more.
Compared with other types of cancer, prostate cancer has one of the highest survival rates. Doctors can cure it if they find it
In most cases, the goal of treatment for prostate cancer is to cure the disease and keep it from reoccurring.
For some individuals with advanced prostate cancer, the goal of treatment is to alleviate the symptoms and improve the person’s quality of life.
A doctor will consider a person’s cancer cured if the person has shown no signs of cancer for at least 5 years.
Doctors may choose from the following
During active surveillance, or watchful waiting, a person attends
Also, a healthcare professional periodically checks the person’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
A doctor may also want to order imaging scans and prostate biopsies every
During this time, if the person’s test results change, the doctor may recommend starting treatment.
Active surveillance is an effective treatment if a person has a slow-growing, low risk cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate.
This treatment option may allow a person to maintain their quality of life longer. Usually, a person will not need aggressive treatment as long as the disease does not progress.
Surgery may be another treatment option if the cancer is
This common type of surgery is called a radical prostatectomy.
During the procedure, a surgeon removes the person’s prostate, surrounding tissue, and seminal vesicles.
Surgery is often an effective treatment if the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate. It aims to remove the cancer by removing the prostate.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, the goal of surgery is to get a PSA value of less than 0.1 nanograms per milliliter for 10 years.
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
Two of the
It is possible for radiation therapy — either by itself or in combination with other treatments — to cure early prostate cancer.
This treatment is most effective for early stage prostate cancer.
A person who receives radiation treatment may experience erectile dysfunction or urinary problems.
In prostate cancer, testosterone can encourage cancer growth.
Hormone therapy works by
Hormone therapy can be an effective treatment for prostate cancer, as it slows the growth of cancer cells or causes them to die.
However, most prostate cancers eventually stop responding to hormone therapy. After this, a person will need other treatments.
What happens when hormone treatment for prostate cancer stops working? Find out here.
The drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body.
Chemotherapy effectively shrinks prostate tumors and can be beneficial for advanced prostate cancer when healthcare professionals use it in conjunction with hormone therapy.
However, because this treatment targets healthy cells in addition to cancer cells, people may experience severe side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
Immunotherapy is a vaccine treatment that can
It can treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
This treatment uses a type of cancer drug that
These drugs are a type of targeted therapy, as they attack cancer cells and mostly avoid affecting healthy cells.
Doctors typically use these medications for stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. While these drugs may not cure prostate cancer,
Bisphosphonates are medications that
This is a supportive therapy — it does not treat the cancer directly, but it prevents bone fractures due to bone metastasis.
Doctors may recommend bisphosphonate therapy when a person’s advanced prostate cancer is no longer responding to hormone therapy alone.
Bisphosphonates cannot cure prostate cancer, but they may help prevent bone loss and fractures.
Because many treatment options are available for prostate cancer, it may feel overwhelming for a person to choose a treatment method.
Talking often with their healthcare team can help a person make informed decisions about their treatment and contribute to successful treatment or management of their cancer.
Useful questions to ask a healthcare team include:
- Has my cancer spread beyond the prostate, and if so, is it possible to cure?
- What are the time considerations and costs for each treatment?
- Should I join a clinical trial?
- Should I seek a second opinion before making a final decision about my treatment?
A prostate cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and the cost of treatment can also cause stress.
In 2020, people spent about
Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be excessive, but some organizations can help people with prostate cancer manage their medical costs:
- The American Cancer Society offers
a list of resourcesfor financial help.
- The Prostate Cancer Foundation has a list of organizations that can help with the costs of copays, treatments, and medications.
- Drug manufacturers may offer patient assistance programs to reduce the cost of prescriptions.
Prostate cancer is curable if it has not spread to distant body parts. Prostate cancers that have spread to distant organs are also curable with the appropriate treatment.
A person’s healthcare team can help them understand which treatment options can give them the best chance of survival or help them manage symptoms.