Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Other Treatment
Radiation therapy for
prostate cancer may be used alone or combined with
hormone treatment. In rare cases, it is used with surgery. It is most effective
in treating cancers that have not spread beyond the prostate, but it can also
be effective in treating cancer that is only in the tissue near the prostate
(locally advanced prostate cancer). Radiation therapy also is used to relieve
pain from metastatic cancer or cancer that comes back after surgery.
Radiation therapy for locally advanced prostate cancer is often combined
with hormone treatment. Using both together improves your chances of being
disease-free for longer and living longer.2
External-beam radiation therapy uses a large machine
to aim a beam of radiation at your tumor to destroy cancer cells. The radiation
damages the genetic material of the cells so that they can't grow. Although
radiation damages normal cells as well as cancer cells, the normal cells can
repair themselves and function, while the cancer cells cannot. If cancer has
spread to your bones, radiation treatment may be given to specific areas to
Radiation treatment commonly has
side effects, including
urinary incontinence, inflammation of the bladder and
colon (colitis), diarrhea, and erection problems.
are common. Some men develop long-term problems that may have a significant
impact on the quality of their lives. Long-term problems that can be caused by
radiation treatment include:
- An irritated rectum and an urgent need to pass a stool. This is
- An inflamed bladder and urination problems. This is called
- An inflamed intestine and diarrhea. This is called
- Being unable to have an erection. This is called
- Being unable to control urination. This is called
- Painful urination. This is called dysuria.
Researchers also are testing many new ways to treat prostate cancer using
immune system to destroy the cancer cells. This type
of treatment is called immunotherapy. Much has been
learned in the past 20 years about the body's ability to attack prostate cancer
cells with help from the outside. And research is still being done in this
area. This type of treatment either stimulates your immune system or adds to
it, for example, by giving you immune cells from another person.
Vaccines such as Provenge use cells from a man's own body to stimulate his immune system. This can slow the growth of prostate cancer.
People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include: