Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, the outlook for men with prostate cancer is promising. More prostate patients are living better and longer than ever before thanks to experienced doctors using highly advanced equipment and techniques to treat the disease.
There are a wide variety of treatments available for the management of prostate cancer. Treatments plans are individualized for each man and vary according to when the cancer is diagnosed and which therapies will target it most successfully. Your cancer team will tailor a program designed to offer the best outcome and lifestyle for you and your family. Below are the most commonly used treatments.
Surgical removal of the entire prostate gland to eliminate the cancer from spreading.
Radioactive Prostate Seed Implants
Treatment delivered by radioactive pellets that are placed directly into the prostate and surrounding tissues. This type of treatment also is called brachytherapy, which comes from the Greek word "brachy," which means near or close to. In other words, therapy that is near or close to the tumor. Seed implants can deliver two to four times more radiation than external beam radiation.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
Treatment with high-energy X-rays, delivered by powerful linear accelerators, that can destroy cancer cells or keep them from multiplying. The X-rays pass through the patient and preferentially kill cancer cells.
Treatment through drugs that interrupt the body's mechanisms for producing hormones, which can either slow down or stop the growth of prostate cancer. Most prostate cancers are stimulated to grow by testosterone and other similar male hormones. When the production of these hormones is suppressed, or these hormones are prevented from getting to the tumor, the cancer will usually stop growing and shrink. This treatment can work well for many years.
Patients whose cancers are not likely to harm them are candidates for watchful waiting. With watchful waiting, patients do not undergo treatment, but rather they are carefully monitored with routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests. For some patients, periodic repeat prostate biopsies also are performed.
There are many situations where combinations of the above treatments are recommended. Learn more...
Radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation and radioactive prostate seed implantation are potential cures for prostate cancer. Hormone therapy may force the cancer into a prolonged remission but does not provide a cure unless it is combined with other treatments.