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Prostate Cancer - Treatment Overview

Choosing treatment for prostate cancer can be confusing. Any treatment can cause serious side effects.

Your treatment decision will depend on:

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  • Your age.
  • Any serious health problems, including any urinary, bowel, or sexual function problems.
  • Your PSA level.
  • What kind of cancer cells you have. This is called the grade or Gleason score of your cancer. Most prostate cancer cells grow very slowly. But some types of cells grow quickly and spread to other areas of the body.
  • How far your cancer has spread. This is called the stage of your cancer.
  • The side effects of treatment.
  • Your personal feelings and concerns.

Treatment may be more successful if prostate cancer is found and treated early. Unlike many other cancers, prostate cancer is usually slow-growing. For most men, this slow growth means they have time to learn all they can before deciding whether to have treatment or which treatment to have.

Types of treatment

The main treatments for prostate cancer include:

  • Active surveillance. This is a treatment choice for any man who has low-risk cancer that has not spread (early stage). To learn more, see Other Treatment.
  • Surgery to remove the cancer by removing the prostate gland. This operation is called a prostatectomy.
  • Radiation treatments, which include external and internal radiation. These treatments have been improved with newer technologies that reduce side effects and other problems caused by radiation. To learn more, see Other Treatment.
  • Hormone therapy , also called androgen deprivation therapy or ADT. To learn more, see Medications.

A diagnosis of prostate cancer usually means that you will be seeing your doctor regularly for years to come. So it's a good idea to build a relationship that is based on full and honest information. Ask your doctor questions about your cancer so that you can make the best decision about treatment. Your doctor also may give you some advice on changes to make in your life to help your treatment succeed.

Additional information about prostate cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate.

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