Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the prostate. This brochure will help you understand the common prostate cancer treatment options available.
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Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
You or someone you care about may have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This video will help you understand some of the main treatment options available.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that forms in a man's prostate gland.
Most prostate tumors grow slowly compared to other types of cancer.
Factors Affecting Treatment Options
You and your doctor will decide your treatment based on several factors. These factors include:
There may be other factors that are important to you and your family.
The main treatments for prostate cancer include: active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.
Active surveillance means frequent doctor visits to closely monitor any growth or changes in your prostate. During these visits, your doctor will feel your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your rectum. This is called a digital rectal exam. In addition, a blood test will be done to check the level of a substance in your blood, called PSA. Men with prostate cancer often have a higher PSA blood level.
Sometimes, active surveillance means your doctor will take a biopsy of your prostate. During a biopsy, your doctor will remove prostate tissue samples through the rectum with a needle.
You may need to have surgery, called a prostatectomy, to remove your prostate gland.
Another treatment, called radiation therapy, uses radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.
External beam radiation, uses a machine to aim radiation from outside your body to the tumor.
Internal radiation, uses pieces of radioactive material placed within the prostate.
Hormone therapy is another treatment for prostate cancer. It affects certain substances made by your body, called hormones. Prostate cancer needs these hormones to grow. Hormone therapy drugs can slow cancer's growth in two ways:
Immuno-oncology, also known as immunotherapy, helps your immune system fight cancer.
For example, one treatment uses certain immune cells taken from your body. These cells are grown in the lab and given a vaccine that makes them more active. Then, the activated immune cells are returned to your body to help attack cancer cells.
Your doctor may recommend other treatments than the ones described here.
The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.
The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your healthcare provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your healthcare provider with health questions and concerns.