Prostate Cancer Treatments
Your physician will closely monitor your cancer through a series of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and exams, known as "watchful waiting". In this active surveillance, treatment is not initiated. Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, some men may never need treatment for their prostate cancer. Your physician will discuss this option if you are a candidate.
Surgical treatment options for prostate cancer include:
- Prostatectomy Removal of the entire prostate
- Transurethral removal: Removal of part of the prostate
- Cryosurgery: Freezing of the cancerous cells
Specially trained surgeons may use the da Vinci® Surgical System for robotics-assisted removal of the prostate with greater precision, faster healing and less pain.
Your oncologist will discuss radiation therapy treatment options with you. Options include:
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): IMRT is a high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor. Northwestern Medicine uses the SpaceOAR® hydrogel system to further reduce the risk of rectal injury in men receiving prostate cancer radiation therapy acting as a spacer – pushing the rectum away from the prostate and out of the high dose radiation treatment region.
- Proton therapy: Proton therapy targets tumors, not healthy tissues, so the dose to the bladder and rectum, which are near the prostate, is greatly reduced. Northwestern Medicine uses the SpaceOAR® hydrogel system to further reduce the risk of rectal injury in men receiving prostate cancer radiation therapy acting as a spacer – pushing the rectum away from the prostate and out of the high dose radiation treatment region.
- Internal radiation or brachytherapy: Brachytherapy uses tiny radioactive seeds or tubes put into your body to send radiation to your prostate.
- Hormone therapy: For cancer that has spread or recurred, hormone therapy can be used to reduce the amount of testosterone, which can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer.
Chemotherapy drugs may be administered, either intravenously or orally, to treat cancerous cells that have spread outside the prostate or have not responded to hormone therapy.
We offer state-of-the-art therapy, such as vaccine therapy, also called immunotherapy (Sipuleucel-T) and targeted radiation (Radium-223).
Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and your body’s ability to respond to treatment. Northwestern Medicine is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms. The palliative medicine specialists:
- Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing difficulties and weight loss
- Treat emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
- Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments
- Help you better understand tests, procedures and options
- Guide you and those who care for you to helpful outside resources
From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.