Treatments for prostate cancer

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

Treatments for localized prostate cancer

Localized prostate cancer is only in the prostate. It is divided into risk groups based on the risk of cancer coming back after treatment. Treatment is based on these risk groups.

Treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer

Locally advanced prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate but hasn't spread to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body. Treatment options may include radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy or watchful waiting.

Treatments for metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer

Castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) is cancer that is being controlled by keeping the testosterone level as low as would be expected if the testicles were removed (called the castrate level). Metastatic prostate cancer is prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment options for metastatic CSPC may include hormone therapy along with other treatments.

Treatments for recurrent prostate cancer

Recurrent prostate cancer is cancer that comes back (recurs) after it has been treated. Find out about treatment options for recurrent prostate cancer.

Treatments for castration-resistant prostate cancer

Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is cancer that continues to grow even when the testosterone levels are at or below the castrate level. Find out about treatment options for CRPC.

Active surveillance for prostate cancer

Active surveillance may be a treatment option for some men with prostate cancer that has a very low risk of progressing. Active surveillance means the healthcare team watches the cancer closely. Treatment is given when symptoms develop or the cancer changes.

Watchful waiting for prostate cancer

Many men diagnosed with prostate cancer don't need to be treated right away. This is because most prostate cancers grow slowly and are unlikely to spread outside of the prostate. Older men with prostate cancer that has a very low risk of growing quickly or spreading may be offered watchful waiting. During watchful waiting, no routine tests are done.

Surgery for prostate cancer

Surgery is usually used to treat cancer that hasn't spread outside of the prostate. The type of surgery you have depends mainly on the stage of the cancer.

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 is often used to treat prostate cancer. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer works by reducing the amount of androgens (male hormones) or blocking androgens from being used.

Chemotherapy for prostate cancer

Chemotherapy uses anticancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer.

Targeted therapy for prostate cancer

Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer. It uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them.

Follow-up after treatment for prostate cancer

Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up care is often shared among the cancer specialists and your family doctor.