Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Cancer Prostate Treatment

The treatment of prostate cancer may include hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

The treatment of prostate cancer may include:

Cancer Prostate Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used for advanced, metastatic prostate cancer. It uses drugs to directly kill cancer cells. Some forms of chemotherapy can be administered orally, while others are only administered intravenously or by injection into muscle tissue. Chemotherapy is used in advanced prostate cancer, after hormonal therapy has failed.

The most commonly used chemotherapeutic agents used to fight prostate cancer include:

Cancer Prostate Cryotherapy

Prostate cancer cells can be destroyed by freezing. During cryotherapy, needles or probes capable of very cold temperatures are inserted into the prostate cancer. Ultrasound is used to guide the needles. After a short period of freezing, the needles are withdrawn.

Cancer Prostate Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer can stop cancer cells from growing. The male hormone, testosterone, is usually necessary for prostate cancer to grow. Depriving prostate cancer cells of testosterone can stop their growth for a period of time.

Prostate cancer hormone therapy medications include:

Complications of hormone therapy include:

Cancer Prostate Monitoring

After treatment for prostate cancer, regular follow-up visits are needed to make sure the cancer does not return. These visits may include blood tests, x-rays, or bone scans.

Cancer Prostate Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of prostate cancer.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk of prostate cancer complications?
  • Is my son at risk for prostate cancer?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Cancer Prostate Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink the size of the tumor. Radiation is usually applied to the body by exposing the prostate to a beam of external radiation, or by implanting radioactive seeds inside the prostate.

The use of radioactive seed implants is called brachytherapy. Radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate through thin plastic tubes. A transrectal ultrasound is used to guide the placement of the radioactive seeds.

Cancer Prostate Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat prostate cancer:

Cancer Prostate Stage 1

Patients over 70 years old, who have prostate cancer in only one portion of the prostate, may not require treatment.

Treatment for stage 1 prostate cancer in younger patients includes one of the following:

Treatment for stage 1 prostate cancer may also include:
  • Hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Cancer Prostate Stage 2

In stage 2 prostate cancer, the cancer is large enough to be detected during an ultrasound.

Treatment for stage 2 prostate cancer may include one of the following:

Treatment for stage 2 prostate cancer may also include:
  • Hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Men over 70, who have stage 2 prostate cancer, may elect not to be treated at this stage.

Cancer Prostate Stage 3

In stage 3 prostate cancer, the prostate cancer has spread to tissues around the prostate.

Treatment for stage 3 prostate cancer includes:

Cancer Prostate Stage 4

In stage 4 disease, prostate cancer has spread to distant organs.

Treatment for stage 4 prostate cancer may include:

Cancer Prostate Surgery

Surgeons perform several types of surgery for prostate cancer. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the prostate gland. In some cases, the surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes near the prostate.

In order to be a candidate for surgery, a prostate cancer patient:

  • Must be younger than 70 years old
  • Must be in good health
  • The prostate cancer must not have spread beyond the prostate

Types of Surgery for Prostate Cancer
  • Perineal prostatectomy:
    • Removal of the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus
  • Retropubic prostatectomy:
    • Removal of the prostate through an incision made in the lower abdomen
  • Transurethral resection for prostate cancer:
    • Removal of small amounts of prostate tissue using instruments inserted through the penis
  • Cryosurgery for prostate cancer:
    • Surgical procedure that uses very low temperatures to freeze and kill cancer cells
  • Surgical castration for prostate cancer:
    • Removal of the testicles, in order to stop the production of testosterone, which stimulates prostate cancer cells

Cancer Prostate Risks

Facts about the risks of prostate surgery include:

  • About 8% of patients have complications following surgery for prostate cancer.
  • Up to 2% of patients die in the first 30 days following surgery for prostate cancer.

Complications of radical prostatectomy may include:

Cancer Prostate Vaccines

Vaccines are usually used to prevent disease. However, a prostate cancer vaccine may be used to treat advanced prostate cancer that does not respond to hormone therapy or chemotherapy.

Vaccines that stimulate the immune system to fight the cancer include:

  • Sipuleucel-T (Provenge)

Continue to Cancer Prostate Home Care

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cancer Prostate References
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  2. Astorg P. Dietary N-6 and N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostate cancer risk: a review of epidemiological and experimental evidence. Cancer Causes Control. 2004 May;15(4):367-86. [15141138]
  3. Dagnelie PC, Schuurman AG, Goldbohm RA, Van den Brandt PA. Diet, anthropometric measures and prostate cancer risk: a review of prospective cohort and intervention studies. BJU Int. 2004 May;93(8):1139-50. [15142129]
  4. Johns LE, Houlston RS. A systematic review and meta-analysis of familial prostate cancer risk. BJU Int. 2003 Jun;91(9):789-94. [12780833]
  5. Mahmud S, Franco E, Aprikian A. Prostate cancer and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2004 Jan 12;90(1):93-9. [14710213]
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