Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.
Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on the individual patient’s circumstances. For many men with prostate cancer, no treatment will be necessary. Techniques such as watchful waiting or active surveillance mean that the clinical team are keeping an eye on the cancer and will start treatment only if it get worse or causes symptoms. .
When treatment is necessary the aim is to cure or control the disease such that life expectancy isn’t shortened and everyday life is affected as little as possible. If the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body the aim of treatment is to delay or reduce symptoms and prolong life. A number of different treatment options are available, depending on the patient’s health and the stage and grade of the cancer. A multidisciplinary team (MDT) of specialists will work together to provide the best care and most appropriate treatment. A selection of treatment options includes:
- Surgery -radical prostatectomy: is the surgical removal of the entire prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Surgery is an option for curing localised prostate cancer and locally-advanced prostate cancer.
- External beam radiotherapy is a local cancer treatment to destroy the cancer cells in the prostate by external beam radiation (EBRT). It can be used as an option for curing localised prostate cancer and locally-advanced disease. Radiotherapy can also be used to slow progression of metastatic disease and to relieve symptoms. It may be given in combination with hormone therapy to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.
- HIFU (High-intensity focused ultrasound) is a minimally invasive technique for localised prostate cancer, where an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum, releasing high frequency sound waves to destroy the tumour cells by heating them to a high temperature.
- Brachytherapy is a radiotherapy technique to destroy the cancer cells by implanting radioactive seeds into the prostate that deliver the radiation dose.
- Hormone therapy is often given in combination with radiotherapy. On its own, hormone therapy is not curative for prostate cancer but it can be used to slow progression and relieve symptoms. Prostate cancer is testosterone sensistive, meaning it needs testosterone to grow. The aim of hormone therapy is to block the testosterone by reducing its production or stopping the testosterone having an effect on the body. Hormone therapy can be given as injections to stop production of testosterone called luteinising hormone- releasing hormone analogues (LHRHas or GnRHas) or as tablets to block the effects or reduce the production of testosterone (anti-androgen treatment).
- Chemotherapy is a treatment option when the tumour has become metastatic and spread to other parts of the body and does not respond to other conventional therapies.
common cancer in men
1 NHS Choices website – Prostate cancer ; symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate/Pages/Introduction.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
2 https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-symptoms Last accessed 28/12/2017
3 Prostate Cancer UK website – About prostate cancer
http://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer Last accessed 18/07/2017