After your prostate cancer has been diagnosed, staged, and graded, your physician will evaluate the unique characteristics of your cancer, as well as your general health, in order to suggest a prostate cancer treatment plan.
Four standard treatment options for newly diagnosed cancers are widely available today. One or more of these may be selected by you and your physician once the pros and cons of each are carefully weighed.
The primary goals of surgery are to remove the cancerous tissue from the body, to remove other structures that may contain cancer (such as lymph nodes), and to minimize damage to any normal, cancer-free tissues and organs that are nearby.
Radiation therapy makes use of high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation works by damaging the DNA that is needed by cells to grow and divide.
Radiation is focused in such a way as to damage and kill as much of the cancer as possible, while minimizing the amount of nearby healthy tissue that is affected.
Male sex hormones, such as testosterone, are produced naturally within the body. Prostate cancer can grow in response to these hormones, so therapy to block the production or effects of these hormones is sometimes used.
A number of different medications have been developed to accomplish this. Hormonal therapy is sometimes used alone, but is often used in combination with other treatments, such as radiation.
In certain men, a strategy of withholding active treatment may be used. While active treatment is withheld, the patient is monitored closely for signs of change in his disease or the development of new symptoms. If it is determined at any time that the cancer is progressing, active treatment may then be started.
This kind of “wait and see” approach is chosen most often in men who are older and who have other significant medical problems.