Localised prostate cancer

There are several treatments available for cancer that is contained in the prostate (localised prostate cancer) and most aim to get rid of the cancer.

If you would like to discuss your options, you can call our Specialist Nurses.

See a list of treatments for localised prostate cancer.

Do I need treatment?

Prostate cancer can grow very slowly and may never cause symptoms or harm in your lifetime. If you have a slow-growing cancer, the side effects of treatment may be worse than any problems caused by the cancer. You might prefer to avoid or delay treatment and any side effects by having your cancer monitored. Active surveillance and watchful waiting are two options for monitoring prostate cancer. 

Choosing a treatment

Your doctor or nurse will explain all your options and help you choose the right treatment for you. There is no overall best treatment and each treatment has its own pros and cons, and side effects. You might like to discuss some of the following factors with your doctor or nurse:

  • whether your cancer is low, medium or high risk
  • your general health and age, for example, if you have any other medical conditions such as heart disease
  • what the treatment involves, pros and cons and the possible side effects
  • your own views about different treatments - for example, some men prefer to have their prostate removed, while others don't like the idea of surgery

In most cases there is no urgency to decide which treatment to have. If you need more time, just ask. It might help to write down any questions you have to ask at your next appointment.

Treatments for localised prostate cancer

External beam radiotherapy

External beam radiotherapy uses high energy X-ray beams to treat prostate cancer. The X-ray beams damage the cancer cells and stop them growing. You may have external beam radiotherapy on its own, or with a type of internal radiotherapy called brachytherapy. Or you might have it after surgery.

Find out more about External beam radiotherapy

Permanent seed brachytherapy

Permanent seed brachytherapy involves implanting tiny radioactive seeds into your prostate gland. This is also called low dose rate brachytherapy. Radiation from the seeds destroys cancer cells in the prostate. You may have this treatment on its own or together with external beam radiotherapy or hormone therapy.

Find out more about Permanent seed brachytherapy

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy helps control prostate cancer by stopping the hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells. It does not cure cancer but can keep it under control, sometimes for several years. It can also help to manage symptoms. You might have hormone therapy on its own, or with other treatments such as radiotherapy or brachytherapy.

Find out more about Hormone therapy

Temporary brachytherapy

Temporary brachytherapy involves inserting a source of high dose-rate radiation into the prostate gland for a few minutes at a time to destroy cancer cells. This is also called high dose rate brachytherapy. You may have this treatment on its own or you together with external beam radiotherapy or hormone therapy.

Find out more about Temporary brachytherapy

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy uses freezing and thawing to kill the cancer cells in the prostate . It is also called cryosurgery or cryoablation. It‘s newer than some other treatments, and we don’t know very much about how effective it is at treating prostate cancer in the long-term or how it may affect your everyday life. Because of this, cryotherapy is only available in specialist centres in the UK, or as part of a clinical trial

Find out more about Cryotherapy

Clinical trials

If you have prostate cancer, you might have the chance to take part in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a type of medical research. It aims to find new and improved ways of preventing, diagnosing, treating and controlling illnesses. Clinical trials test medicines, medical procedures or medical equipment. People are involved in a controlled and carefully planned way. This is the best way of finding out whether a new treatment is better than the current standard treatment.

Find out more about Clinical trials