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Prostate Cancer - Treatment Overview

Coping with cancer

A cancer diagnosis can change your life. You may feel like your world has turned upside down and you have lost all control. Talking with family, friends, or a counselor can really help. Ask your doctor about support groups. Or call the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) or visit the website at

Follow-up care

After surgery or radiation

If you choose surgery or radiation to treat your prostate cancer, it will be important to have regular checkups. If your cancer comes back, this will help your doctor find it early.

If you choose active surveillance

If you decide on active surveillance, you will have regular checkups and tests, including prostate biopsies. It is possible that a curable cancer could spread and become incurable during a 6-month period, but this isn't common. If there is no change in your condition, you may continue active surveillance. If tests show that your cancer is growing, it may be time to start other treatment.

Treatment decisions

  • Age isn't a reason to avoid surgery. But if you are 70 or older, other medical conditions, such as heart disease, may affect your decision. Men who are older also have a higher rate of incontinence and impotence after surgery. Age is especially important to think about if you have early-stage cancer, which generally grows slowly.
  • Get a second or even a third opinion before making your treatment decisions. You may hear differing advice or opinions, which may seem confusing. But talking with other doctors can help you make your decision. If your doctor is a medical oncologist, you may want to talk with other prostate cancer specialists, such as a urologist, a radiation or urologic oncologist, or a surgeon.
  • Studies show that fewer side effects are reported at large medical centers, where the surgeons do prostatectomies more often and so are more experienced and skilled.3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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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