Prostate Cancer

Causes & symptoms | The Diagnosis | Questions

Deciding on the best treatment for cancer of the prostate is not always straightforward and a number of factors have to be taken into consideration. The most important of these are:

Your general health
The stage of the prostate cancer
Whether the cancer has already spread beyond the prostate
The likely adverse effects of the treatment
Your age

  • Surgery
    Surgery may be a treatment option for you depending on the type, size and spread of the cancer.

    There are three types of surgery for prostate cancer
    • Radical prostatectomy - removal of the prostate gland
    • Trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP) - to relieve symptoms
    • Orchidectomy (removal of testicles)

  • Radiotherapy
    • Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high energy rays which destroy the cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells.
    • Radiotherapy for cancer of the prostate is usually given from a machine called a linear accelerator (external beam radiotherapy), but for some men with early prostate cancer it can be given by inserting small radioactive seeds into the tumour (brachytherapy).

  • Hormone therapy
    • Cancer of the prostate is dependent on the male hormone, testosterone, for its growth.
    • Testosterone is produced by the testicles.
    • By reducing the amount of testosterone in the body it is possible to slow down or stop the growth of the cancer cells. It can shrink down the tumour and symptoms will often disappear completely.

  • Chemotherapy
    • This is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells.
    • Although it is often used to treat some types of cancer, it is less commonly used to treat cancer of the prostate.
    • Some of the more commonly used drugs are mitoxantrone, and estramustine (tablets).