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Treatment recommendations for prostate cancer are typically based on the stage of the cancer and how likely it is to spread. Many cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in their early stages thanks to screening exams.
The aggressiveness of the cancer will determine the extent of your prostate cancer treatment. Treatments for prostate cancer can range from surgery and radiation therapy for larger tumors and watchful waiting for small tumors.
Regular screenings and checkups can help your doctor detect signs and symptoms of prostate cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
If you need prostate cancer treatment in Central California, Find a Doctor online. Dignity Health Central California oncologists offer personalized care with a focus on humankindness.
Watchful waiting, also known as active surveillance, is when your doctor does not treat your cancer, but instead closely monitors it for changes. This option may be recommended by your doctor if you don’t have symptoms and your tumor is small, confined to the prostate, and slow growing. Your doctor will use biopsies, PSA (prostate specific antigen) tests, and your symptoms to track the growth of your cancer.
Surgery for prostate cancer typically removes the entire prostate gland and some of the healthy tissue around it. Surgery is common when the tumor has not spread beyond the prostate and the goal of treatment is eliminating the cancer.
For tumors that are confined to the prostate, radiation therapy is often used as an alternative to surgery. Doctors also use a combination of radiation therapy and hormone therapy after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells or for tumors that have spread beyond the prostate. Radiation therapy can also be used for symptom relief in more advanced stages.
Hormone therapy can be used before radiation to help shrink the tumor. It can also be used in combination with radiation to decrease the risk recurrence. Hormone therapy is also helpful when surgery and radiation aren’t options or for the treatment of advanced-stage cancers.
Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. Chemotherapy is usually recommended when prostate cancer has spread and hormone therapy alone isn’t working.
Cryotherapy involves killing cancer cells by freezing them. This treatment is most commonly used when prostate cancer returns after radiation therapy.
A cancer vaccine is a form of immunotherapy for cancer. Provenge (Sipuleucel-T) is often used to treat late-stage prostate cancer that is no longer responsive to hormone therapy. It can add several months to the lives of people with advanced prostate cancer.
When fighting prostate cancer, you have several treatment options. Discuss the benefits, risks, side effects, and goals of each one with your doctor. At Dignity Health Central California, our doctors work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.