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Prostate cancer treatments

Our prostate cancer experts develop a comprehensive treatment plan specifically for each patient. Your individualized plan will include evidence-based medical treatments and technologies, combined with supportive care services to help reduce side effects and keep you strong in body, mind and spirit.

Learn about prostate cancer survival statistics and results

Active surveillance

Nine in 10 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States have localized disease. Localized prostate cancer has not spread outside the prostate and generally does not cause symptoms. Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, active surveillance may be the preferred treatment option for some men, with the oncologist closely monitoring the disease with tests and holding off on treatment until a later date.

Older men are more likely to be candidates for active surveillance because treating them with surgery or radiation has not been shown to help them live longer. The decision to monitor prostate cancer instead of treating is made between a patient and his doctor.

In general, active surveillance may be an option for patients whose prostate cancer is:

  • Not causing symptoms
  • Expected to grow slowly
  • Small and contained within the prostate

Patients under active surveillance at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) may receive regular PSA tests and biopsies every one to two years. Other treatment options would be considered if a patient’s PSA levels rapidly increase, his doctor finds changes in his digital rectal exam, or he develops new symptoms.

Chemotherapy

The potential side effects of chemotherapy may include nausea and vomiting, hair loss and mouth sores. Your care team will use multiple measures to help reduce or moderate chemotherapy-related symptoms.

Prior to receiving chemotherapy for prostate cancer, you may receive pre-medications to help make symptoms more tolerable.

During chemotherapy, your care team will offer supportive care services to help ease side effects. For example, our naturopathic providers may suggest supplements to reduce nausea. Also, a mind-body therapist may recommend mind-body techniques to help you relax and feel less anxious during your prostate cancer chemotherapy treatments.

Learn more about side-effect management

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer deprives cancer cells of the male hormones they need to grow. Prostate cancer hormone therapy is often used in combination with radiation and other therapies. We may use hormone therapy to shrink advanced prostate cancer tumors, so they can be treated with radiation.

At CTCA®, we use innovative approaches in hormone therapy, attacking the disease on multiple fronts with a combination of drugs. A common regimen for prostate cancer therapy uses a combination of two or more drugs to lower the level of testosterone and other hormones that can fuel the disease. In some cases, hormone therapy may be given intermittently to help reduce treatment-related side effects.

Our supportive care services are available to help manage potential side effects of prostate cancer hormone therapy, like mood changes and low libido. We anticipate side effects by focusing on prevention, and managing them with a variety of approaches if they do occur. All of this is included in your overall treatment plan, with personalized support for you and your family.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a promising treatment for prostate cancer, including advanced or recurrent forms of the disease. Your care team at CTCA uses a variety of immune-based strategies to kill a prostate cancer tumor and prevent its recurrence.

This treatment method may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

Radiation therapy

With advanced radiation therapy delivery systems, our radiation oncologists are able to target difficult-to-reach tumors in the prostate. Also, our radiation oncologists may direct higher radiation doses at prostate cancer cells, while reducing exposure to normal, healthy tissue.

We offer two primary types of radiation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer:

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT): Delivers high doses of radiation to prostate cancer cells from outside the body, using a variety of machine-based technologies

High-dose rate brachytherapy (internal radiation): Delivers high doses of radiation from implants placed close to, or inside, the tumor(s) in the body

Some prostate cancer patients may also undergo stereotactic body radiosurgery, which uses innovative imaging technologies to deliver high doses of radiation to tumors in the prostate. Despite its name, stereotactic body radiosurgery is not a surgical procedure, but a form of radiation therapy. Because the dose rate is high, fewer treatments are used.

Learn more about radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Surgery

Surgical treatments for prostate cancer may be an option for men who qualify based on their overall health and other factors. Surgery is designed to remove the cancer through an open (traditional) operation or with robotic equipment. One example of surgery for prostate cancer is removal of the prostate, called a prostatectomy. One of the preferred options for treating organ-confined prostate cancer is radical prostatectomy. The da Vinci® Surgical System allows the surgeon to offer this procedure using a minimally invasive approach.

Some advantages of surgery for prostate cancer may include:

  • Patients with localized cancer may need no further treatment.
  • Simultaneous biopsy allows for more accurate staging.
  • Post-surgical PSA levels reliably predict recurrence of cancer.
  • Fewer bowel or rectal side effects than with radiation treatments
  • Lower risk of urinary urgency and frequency than with radiation treatments

Some disadvantages may include:

  • It comes with the possibility for surgery-related risks, including side effects from general anesthesia.
  • It requires an overnight hospitalization.
  • A catheter is required for one or two weeks.
  • Long-term sexual changes, including dry orgasms, pain during orgasm and shortened penis, may result

Learn more about urologic oncology for prostate cancer

Next topic: How is prostate cancer treated with radiation therapy?