Treatment choices

Your treatment options will depend on whether your cancer is contained within the prostate gland (localised), has spread just outside of the prostate (locally advanced) or had spread to other parts of the body (advanced).

You may have a choice of treatments. Your doctor or specialist nurse will explain all your treatment options, and help you to choose the right treatment for you.

The first treatment you have may affect which treatments you can have in the future, if you need further treatment. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.

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Active surveillance

Active surveillance is a way of monitoring slow-growing prostate cancers which might never progress or cause any symptoms. The aim is to avoid or delay unnecessary treatment which could cause side effects and affect your quality of life.

Find out more about Active surveillance

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 alongside permanent seed brachytherapy or temporary brachytherapy (internal radiotherapy). 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

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to kill the cancer cells. It won’t get rid of your prostate cancer, but can help to control or delay symptoms, and helps some men to live longer. You may have chemotherapy alongside other treatments such as hormone therapy, steroids, radiotherapy for advanced cancer and bisphosphonates.

Find out more about Chemotherapy

Abiraterone

Abiraterone (Zytiga®) is a new type of hormone therapy for men whose prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer) and has stopped responding to other hormone therapy treatments. It is used to help control symptoms and not to cure prostate cancer.

Find out more about Abiraterone

New treatments

You may hear stories in the news about new treatments for prostate cancer that has spread outside of the prostate gland (advanced prostate cancer). For example, you might have heard about a new type of chemotherapy called cabazitaxel (Jetvana®).

Find out more about New treatments

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

Bisphosphonates

Bisphosphonates are drugs that can be used to treat men whose prostate cancer has spread to the bones and is no longer responding to hormone therapy. They do not treat the cancer itself but they can help to relieve bone pain. Bisphosphonates may also help to prevent and slow down the breakdown of bone.

Find out more about Bisphosphonates