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Prostate Cancer: Making a Treatment Plan

Being told that you have cancer can be scary. But it's important to know that most people who have prostate cancer don't die from it. Even when prostate cancer can't be cured, treatment can often keep it under control.

Your healthcare team will talk with you about your treatment plan. This plan depends on many things, such as how much cancer there is and where it is. The plan depends on your age, your overall health, and your preferences. Talk with your healthcare team about your options. Then you can make the decision that's best for you.

Man talking with health care provider in exam room.

Your healthcare team

Many healthcare providers will be part of your treatment team. You may work with these providers:

  • Urologist. This is a doctor who treats and does surgery on the urinary system and the male reproductive system.

  • Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who treats cancer with radiation.

  • Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who treats cancer with medicines.

  • Nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA). This is a person who may give you exams and manage your follow-up care.

  • Your primary healthcare provider. This person refers you to the right specialists. They also watch your general health and any other health problems you might have.

You'll have other people involved in your care, such as:

  • Nurses

  • Dietitians

  • Radiation therapists

  • Clinical nurse assistants

  • Social workers

You and your friends and family will be an important part of the treatment team. You'll all work together so you get the best care possible.

Choosing the best treatment

Your treatment options are based on:

  • How fast the cancer is growing (the grade)

  • How far it has spread (the stage)

  • Your overall health

  • Your feelings about the side effects of each treatment

Your treatment choices may include:

  • Active surveillance. You may not need treatment right away. But your healthcare team will watch you closely. You'll have regular follow-up exams, blood tests, or biopsies. Treatment can be started later if the cancer starts to get worse.

  • Treating to cure. If the cancer is found at an early stage (when it's small and only in the prostate), the chance of full recovery is good. Early-stage cancer can often be cured by removing it with surgery. Or radiation can be used to kill the cancer cells.

  • Treating to control. Late-stage cancer that has spread to other parts of the body often can’t be cured. But it may be controlled to slow growth and help you live longer and feel as well as you can. Methods for control might include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, vaccine therapy, and chemotherapy.

New treatment options

Researchers are finding new ways to treat prostate cancer. These are tested in clinical trials. Taking part in a clinical trial may help you get the best treatment available today. You may get new treatments that are thought to be even better. Before starting treatment, talk with your healthcare provider. Ask if there are any clinical trials you should think about.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
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