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Treatment for Prostate Cancer

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There’s no one prostate cancer treatment that’s right for every man, but you've got plenty of options. Your doctor will consider many things when he recommends one for you, including:

  • The size of your tumor and how far it has spread, called the stage of your disease
  • How quickly the tumor is likely to grow
  • Your age and how healthy you are
  • Your personal preferences

What Options Are Available?

  • Watchful waiting or active surveillance. Your doctor might suggest waiting to see if your tumor will grow or spread before you treat it. Most prostate cancer grows slowly, and some doctors think it’s better not to treat it unless it changes or causes symptoms. In watchful waiting, your doctor will closely track how the disease makes you feel. With active surveillance, you’ll also get regular tests to check on the cancer.
  • Surgery. This usually involves removing all or part of the prostate. The kind of operation you get depends on the size of the tumor and where it is.
  • Radiation. This treatment uses high-energy waves or particles to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. There are a few types doctors can use for cancer that’s only in the prostate, and others for when it spreads to other parts of the body.
  • Hormone therapy. Some of the hormones your body makes can fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells. This type of therapy lowers levels of those hormones or stops the cells from using them.
  • Chemotherapy. Drugs that you take by mouth or through an IV travel through the body, attacking and killing cancer cells and shrinking tumors. You might get chemo if the disease has spread outside your prostate and hormone therapy isn’t working for you.
  • Biologic therapy. This treatment works with your immune system to fight the disease. It’s used to treat advanced prostate cancer.
  • Bisphosphonate therapy. If the disease reaches your bones, these drugs can ease pain and prevent fractures.

Your doctor will usually start with one treatment at a time. But in some cases, you might get a few treatments at once. Talk to your doctor about the course that’s best for you.

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