Many prostate cancers are slow growing and may not need surgery or other radical treatment. Active surveillance (which is regular monitoring) is now a common treatment option for men with low risk, low grade prostate cancer.
Click here for more information on active surveillance.
A surgical approach to treating prostate cancer will remove all or part of the prostate gland. Typically, men with early-stage disease or cancer that’s confined to the prostate will undergo radical prostatectomy – removal of the entire prostate gland, plus some surrounding tissue. Advances in surgical technique allow men to stay in the hospital one to two nights on average. Other surgical procedures may be performed on men with advanced or recurrent disease.
Click here for more information on prostatectomy.
Radiation therapy involves the use of various directed types of X-rays (radiation) to kill cancer cells and surrounding tissues.
Click here for more information on radiation therapy.
Prostate cancer cells are like other living organisms, meaning they need fuel to grow and survive. Because the hormone testosterone serves as the main fuel for prostate cancer cell growth, it’s a common target for therapeutic intervention in men with the disease.
Hormone therapy, also known as androgen-deprivation therapy or ADT, is designed to stop testosterone from being released or to prevent it from acting on the prostate cells. Although hormone therapy plays an important role in men with advancing prostate cancer, it is increasingly being used before, during, or after local treatment as well.
The majority of cells in prostate cancer tumors respond to the removal of testosterone. But some cells grow independent of testosterone and remain unaffected by hormone therapy. As these hormone-independent cells continue to grow unchecked, hormone therapies have less and less of an effect on the growth of the tumor over time.
For this reason, hormone therapy is not a perfect strategy in the fight against prostate cancer, and it does not cure the disease. It also carries some unwanted side effects. However, it remains an important step in the process of managing advancing disease, and it will likely be a part of every man’s therapeutic regimen at some point during his fight against recurrent or advanced prostate cancer.
Click here for more information on hormone therapy.
The term "chemotherapy" refers to any type of therapy that uses chemicals to kill or halt the growth of cancer cells. The drugs work in a variety of ways, but are all based on the same simple principle: stop the cells from dividing and you stop the growth and spread of the tumor. Chemotherapy, like all powerful drugs, can take a toll on the body. Paramount in all researchers’ minds is a way to maximize benefit while minimizing side effects.
It is important to understand that it is possible to deal with the two most common side effects of treatment for prostate cancer – incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine) and erectile dysfunction (difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection). The prostate is situated just under the bladder and is surrounded by the nerves that control erections, which is why surgery, radiotherapy and other treatments commonly cause these side effects at least temporarily. If the problems don’t go away there are now many medical and surgical treatments available to cure incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Click here for more information on the side effects of prostate cancer treatment.