- How is prostate cancer treated?
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) and active surveillance for prostate cancer
- Surgery for prostate cancer
- Radiation therapy for prostate cancer
- Cryosurgery for prostate cancer
- Hormone (androgen deprivation) therapy for prostate cancer
- Chemotherapy for prostate cancer
- Vaccine treatment for prostate cancer
- Preventing and treating prostate cancer spread to bone
- Clinical trials for prostate cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for prostate cancer
- Considering prostate cancer treatment options
- Initial treatment of prostate cancer by stage
- Following PSA levels during and after treatment
- Prostate cancer that remains or recurs after treatment
- More prostate cancer treatment information
How is prostate cancer treated?
This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.
Some general comments about prostate cancer treatment
Once your prostate cancer has been diagnosed, graded, and staged, you have a lot to think about before you and your doctor choose a treatment plan. You may feel that you must make a decision quickly, but it is important to give yourself time to absorb the information you have just learned. Ask questions of your cancer care team. Read the section, "What should you ask your doctor about prostate cancer?"
Depending on the situation, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer may include:
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) or active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
These treatments are generally used one at a time, although in some cases they may be combined.
The treatment you choose for prostate cancer should take into account:
- Your age and expected life span
- Any other serious health conditions you may have
- The stage and grade of your cancer
- Your feelings (and your doctor's opinion) about the need to treat the cancer
- The likelihood that each type of treatment will cure your cancer (or provide some other measure of benefit)
- Your feelings about the possible side effects from each treatment
Many men find it helpful to get a second opinion about the best treatment options based on their situation, especially if there are several choices available. Prostate cancer is a complex disease, and doctors may differ in their opinions regarding the best treatment options. Speaking with doctors who specialize in different kinds of treatment may help you sort through your options. You will want to weigh the benefits of each treatment against its possible outcomes, side effects, and risks.
The main types of doctors who treat prostate cancer include:
- Urologists: surgeons who specialize in treating diseases of the urinary system and male reproductive system (including the prostate)
- Radiation oncologists: doctors who treat cancer with radiation therapy
- Medical oncologists: doctors who treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy
It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs.
Once you decide on a treatment plan, many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals.
The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for prostate cancer. This is followed by a discussion of the typical treatment options based on the stage of the cancer.
Last Medical Review: 02/27/2012
Last Revised: 05/15/2013