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Prostate Cancer Treatment

Learn how genetic test results may affect medical decisions about cancer treatment.”

Types of prostate cancer treatments

There are several types of treatment for prostate cancer. Treatment decisions depend on different factors.

  • Active Surveillance - When prostate cancer is small, caught at an early stage, and has a low Gleason score, some doctors and patients decide to continue watching it closely rather than treatment. This option is often considered for older men who do not have an inherited mutation and who may not be bothered by symptoms from their cancer.
  • Surgery - Surgery is a common prostate cancer treatment especially if the cancer has not spread outside the prostate gland. The main type of surgery is called a radical prostatectomy which removes the entire prostate gland plus some of the tissue around it. 
  • Radiation – Radiation therapy is another common treatment for prostate cancer.  During radiation treatment high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons are used to destroy cancer cells.
  • Hormonal therapy - Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or androgen suppression therapy.  This type of therapy reduces levels of male hormones, called androgens (also called testosterone), in the body.  There are many types of drugs that may be used as part of hormonal therapy including those designed to lower androgen levels and drugs that stop androgens from working. 
  • Chemotherapy – The use of anti-cancer drugs is called chemotherapy. Chemotherapy for prostate cancer may be used if the cancer has spread outside the prostate gland or if hormonal therapy is not working. There are a number of different drugs that are currently used in chemotherapy for prostate cancer.
  • Tumor testing and targeted therapy - Researchers are now studying promising new targeted treatments based on the genetic profile of prostate tumors. Special tumor tests can provide clues the help doctors choose the best prostate treatment for their patients. Some of these new therapies may provide more effective treatment with fewer side effects. 

Updated 05/22/17

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