Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
If you have prostate cancer, the treatment your doctor or doctors suggest will depend on several factors, including your age, your general state of health and the cancer itself—whether it is early-stage disease or advanced disease.
At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), you may choose your doctor according to the treatment you would like to receive. Or you may choose to meet with a team of providers who will collaborate and discuss the best options for treatment for your cancer.
As a patient at SCCA, you have access to all the treatment options currently available, as well as new therapies offered only in clinical studies. This is one advantage of seeking treatment at SCCA, which has two strong research organizations behind it: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine.
Prostate cancer is a complex disease. In some cases, it grows slowly over 10 to 20 years and may never move beyond the prostate. Disease like this is treated differently than advanced, aggressive disease, which may be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
The choice that you make for your treatment is a personal and individual one. The key to making a good decision is getting input from an experienced team of leading prostate cancer specialists who know the outcomes and quality of life issues associated with each treatment.
Active surveillance and watchful waiting are ways to manage early-stage, slow-growing, or asymptomatic prostate cancer. Your team may also recommend these options if your life expectancy is less than 10 years or you can’t have or don’t want aggressive treatment.
Surgery offers a good chance to cure patients with early-stage cancer that is localized to the prostate. The most common surgery is a radical prostatectomy, which may be done using open surgical methods or laparoscopically with or without robotic aides.
Radiation therapy may be used as a curative treatment for localized prostate cancer or as palliative therapy for advanced prostate cancer. At SCCA, we use the latest technology to provide the most precise radiation treatment possible.
Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment that allows doctors to focus radiation precisely on the tumor while limiting radiation to surrounding healthy tissue, which makes it ideal for treating anatomically complex tumors, like prostate cancer.
Hormone therapy may be recommended for advanced prostate cancer, when PSA levels are rising despite previous prostate cancer treatment, or if you aren’t able to have surgery or radiation therapy for your disease.
If you have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer or if your cancer has returned after treatment, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy.
Despite treatment, prostate cancer sometimes recurs. Also, prostate tumors can grow beyond the prostate gland, and cancer cells can travel to other parts of the body, such as the bones.
New treatments for this disease include the drug Provenge as well as advances in radiation therapy.
Dr. Bruce L. Dalkin, MD, explains results of studies of quality of life after prostate cancer treatment.
One in five men with prostate cancer is diagnosed with localized prostate cancer that is at high risk to spread. About 30 to 40 percent of men with the disease have recurrent cancer, meaning their cancer returns after treatment.
Treatments for prostate cancer may have side effects, which can include infertility, incontinence, reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and changes in orgasm.