Prostate Cancer Treatments

Prostate cancer may be treated by different members of the cancer care team. Prostate cancer treatment options vary depending on how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread to other body parts. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

Prostate cancer confined to the area of the prostate can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. Choosing between radiation therapy and surgery (prostatectomy) will require you to weigh the possible complications and inconvenience of each treatment option. Our physicians can help you evaluate the likely outcomes associated with each treatment option available.

Surveillance

You and your physician will decide on the appropriate treatment for prostate cancer based on the stage of the cancer and other factors. In some cases, surveillance, sometimes called “observation” or “watchful waiting,” is recommended if immediate treatment is not needed. Recent studies have found that many men could forgo surgery to remove the entire prostate and still live just as long.

Sometimes the side effects of treatment can outweigh the benefits of treatment. You will be closely monitored and if circumstances change, your physician will discuss active treatment options with you.

Hormone Therapy

Hormones are naturally occurring substances in the body that stimulate the growth of hormone sensitive tissues, such as the prostate gland. When cancer arises in prostate tissue, its growth and spread may be caused by the body’s own hormones. Therefore, drugs that block hormone production or change the way hormones work, and/or removal of organs that secrete hormones, such as the testicles, are ways of fighting cancer. Hormone therapy, similar to chemotherapy, is a systemic treatment in that it may affect cancer cells throughout the body.

Chemotherapy

Cancer in the prostate occurs when normal cells change to malignant cells. It is the most common cancer found in men. You and your physician will discuss on the appropriate treatment options for prostate cancer based upon the stage of the cancer and other factors. Chemotherapy is one common method of treating advanced prostate cancer once it has spread to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy involves taking cancer-fighting drugs either orally, as injections, or as IV infusion. The medication circulates in the bloodstream, killing prostate cancer cells. It might be a recommended treatment when cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland. Physicians administer chemotherapy in scheduled sessions, each with built-in periods of recovery time for the body. A typical chemotherapy cycle can last for several weeks.

Vaccines

Most vaccines are given to prevent a disease (including some viruses that can cause cancer), but cancer treatment vaccines are given after a person has been diagnosed with cancer to help increase the body’s ability to fight tumor growth, limit the spread of cancer cells, and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Vaccines are a form of immunotherapy. There are vaccines for advanced prostate cancer that have been approved by the FDA and more are in development. Vaccines may be personalized, using tissue from a person’s individual cancer and combined with substances in a lab to develop a vaccine tailored to their immune system.

Bone-Directed Treatment

Some patients with advanced prostate cancer have cancer cells that spread to their bones. These bone metastases can cause pain, increase the risk of broken bones, and raise risk for a serious condition that raises the amount of calcium in the blood. Treatment options include medications or radiation therapy.

Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology uses high energy particles or waves to treat cancer cells. Only cancer cells in the area where the radiation is delivered are killed. Our radiation oncology team includes radiation oncologist, physicists and dosimetrists skilled in treating prostate cancer using radiation therapy.

Surgery

Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissue. When possible, physicians use minimally invasive, robotic surgery, which can have quicker recovery times and shorter hospital stays. Surgery may also be used in conjunction with other treatments.

Proton Beam Therapy

Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of radiation. Protons from hydrogen atoms are extracted, then accelerated at almost the speed of light and sent through a beam line. The protons are directed precisely to the tumor with submillimeter accuracy, destroying the cancerous cells while minimizing damage to the surrounding health tissue. Texas Urology Specialists offers patients this service through Texas Center for Proton Therapy.