Treatments for prostate cancer

Last medical review:

If you have prostate cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for prostate cancer, your healthcare team will consider:

  • the type and stage of the cancer
  • the grade or Gleason score
  • prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels
  • the risk group (whether it is likely that the cancer will come back after treatment)
  • possible side effects of treatments
  • your personal preferences
  • your overall health and any existing medical conditions
  • your age and life expectancy
  • whether you have symptoms

Prostate cancer treatments can seriously affect your quality of life and cause side effects such as erectile dysfunction (problems getting or keeping an erection) and incontinence (loss of bladder control). Many prostate cancers grow slowly and cause no symptoms or problems.

Expert review and references

  • Peter Chung, MBChB, FRCPC
  • Krista Noonan, MD, FRCPC

Treatments for localized prostate cancer

Localized prostate cancer can be treated with active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

Treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer

Locally advanced prostate cancer can be treated with radiation therapy, surgery and hormone therapy.

Treatments for metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer

Metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) can be treated with hormone therapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Treatments for recurrent prostate cancer

Recurrent prostate cancer can be treated with radiation therapy, hormone therapy, cryosurgery and targeted therapy.

Treatments for castration-resistant prostate cancer

Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) can be treated with hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy.

Active surveillance for prostate cancer

Active surveillance may be offered for prostate cancer. The healthcare team watches the cancer closely to see if it is growing before offering other treatments.

Watchful waiting for prostate cancer

Watchful waiting may be offered for prostate cancer. If symptoms develop, treatment may be used to relieve symptoms.

Surgery for prostate cancer

Surgery is a medical procedure to examine, remove or repair tissue. Prostate cancer is often treated with surgery.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is usually used to treat prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Hormone therapy affects hormones that cancer cells need to grow. Prostate cancer is often treated with hormone therapy.

Chemotherapy for prostate cancer

Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. Prostate cancer is sometimes treated with chemotherapy.

Targeted therapy for prostate cancer

Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules on cancer cells. Prostate cancer is sometimes treated with targeted therapy.

Follow-up after treatment for prostate cancer

Follow-up is an important part of care for prostate cancer. It often involves regular tests and visits with the healthcare team.