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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Treatment Overview

Palliative care

Palliative care is a kind of medical care for people who have serious and chronic illnesses. It is different from trying to cure your illness. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life—not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit. Some people combine palliative care with curative care.

With prostate cancer, palliative care may involve treatments to reduce tumors or bone pain, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radionuclides (medicine used in external radiation) for bone metastasis, and bisphosphonates, which slow the breakdown of bone and help relieve bone pain. Surgery to relieve bladder problems (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP) is also an option.

Palliative care may help you manage symptoms or side effects from treatment. It could also help you cope with your feelings about living with a long-term illness, make future plans around your medical care, or help your family better understand your illness and how to support you.

If you are interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to manage your care or refer you to a doctor who specializes in this type of care.

For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.

End-of-life issues

You may wish to discuss health care and other legal issues that arise near the end of life with your family and your doctor. You may find it helpful and comforting to state your health care choices in writing—with an advance directive or living will—while you are still able to make and communicate these decisions.

You may want to choose a health care agent to make and carry out decisions about your care if you should become unable to speak for yourself. Be sure to share your wishes with your family or close friends. You can get forms from Caring Connections ( or 1-800-658-8898) or Aging With Dignity ( or 1-888-594-7437).

For more information, see the topic Care at the End of Life.

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are at the end of life. Hospice care also helps family members manage the practical details and emotional challenges of caring for a dying loved one. For more information, see the topic Hospice Care.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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