Sep 12, 2019 10:00 AM

patient and physician
Work with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.

Choosing treatment options after being diagnosed with prostate cancer can seem overwhelming. When prostate cancer is found early, several treatment options may be available. Treatment may not even need to start right away in some cases. The choice of treatment depends on the stage and diagnosis of the cancer, personal preferences, and medical history. It is important to take your time and work with your health-care provider to find the right treatment for you.

These types of treatment are available for patients with prostate cancer:

  • Watchful waiting/active surveillance means health care providers closely watch a patient's condition, but do not give treatment unless symptoms appear or change.
  • Surgery removes the tumor and some tissue around it. 
  • Hormone therapy keeps cancer cells from getting or using the hormones they need to grow. Hormone therapy uses medicines or surgery.
  • Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. 
  • Chemotherapy (occasionally used if the cancer has spread outside of the prostate) uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.
  • Biological therapy uses the patient’s immune system to help fight the cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a lab are used for these treatments. Immunotherapy is a type of biologic therapy.
  • Bisphosphonate therapy is used to make bones stronger when the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to the bones. 

Factors to Consider

The National Cancer Institute suggests patients and their doctors consider these factors when looking at treatment options:

  • Prostate risk group. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer can be placed into different risk groups:
    • Low risk: prostate cancer is not likely to grow or spread for many years.
    • Medium-risk: prostate cancer is not likely to spread or grow for a few years.
    • High-risk: prostate cancer may grow or spread within a few years.
  • Previous medical history or other health problems
  • Age
  • The type of care available to you
  • The side effects that may come with each treatment
  • What you value most

You may also want to involve your spouse or partner in making the decision. Although the treatment choice is yours, involving family may help you figure out what is most important to you.

Resources to Help

In many cases, there may be more than one “right” treatment option. Take your time, look at your choices, ask questions, and work with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.

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