- 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 therapy for prostate cancer
- Chemotherapy (chemo) 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
- What is the best prostate cancer treatment for me?
What is the best prostate cancer treatment for me?
If you have early stage prostate cancer, you will want to think about a lot of things before you choose a course of treatment. These things include your age, your overall health, how likely it is the cancer will cause problems for you, your goals for treatment, and your feelings about side effects. Some men, for example, may want to avoid side effects such as incontinence or impotence for as long as they can. Others are less concerned about these and more focused on getting rid of the cancer.
If you are older or have serious health problems and your cancer is slow growing, you might want to think of prostate cancer as a chronic disease. It will most likely not lead to your death. But it could cause symptoms you want to avoid. You might decide to choose active surveillance (careful follow-up with your doctor). Of course, age itself is not the best basis on which to make your choice. Many men are in good mental and physical shape at age 70, while some younger men may not be as healthy.
If you are younger and otherwise healthy, you might be more willing to put up with the side effects of treatment if they offer you the best chance for cure. Most doctors now feel that external radiation, radical prostatectomy, and brachytherapy have about the same cure rates for the earliest stage prostate cancers. But you should think about the pros and cons to each type of treatment, including possible risks and side effects.
These decisions are even harder for you if you try to make them alone. Many men find it helps to talk to others who have faced the same issues. The American Cancer Society's Man to Man program (or programs like this offered by other organizations) offers a way for men to meet and talk about issues related to prostate cancer. To learn more about Man to Man, please call our toll-free number or visit our Web site.
It is often helpful to discuss treatment options with more than one type of doctor. It's natural for surgical specialists, such as urologists, to recommend surgery, and for radiation oncologists to recommend radiation. Talking to each of them may give you a better view of your options. Your primary care doctor can also help you sort out which treatment plan is best for you.
Many men find it very stressful to have to choose between treatment options, and are very fearful they will choose the "wrong" one. But in many cases there is no single best option. It's important to take your time and decide which option is right for you.
Last Medical Review: 03/09/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013