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Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

If you have prostate cancer, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments.

Our cancer doctors and care team will:

  • Work with your referring doctor to come up with the best mix of treatment approaches for you.
  • Tailor your plan of care to meet your unique needs and goals.
  • Follow national standards for treating prostate cancer.

How Do You Treat Prostate Cancer?

Your plan of care will depend on many factors, including the type and stage of your prostate cancer and your basic health.

Our goal is to design a treatment plan that gives you the best possible results.

Prostate cancer treatment often includes a mix of:

  • Medicine to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation.
  • Prostate surgery.

Medical treatments for prostate cancer

Medical treatments for prostate cancer use drugs to kill cancer cells or suppress their growth. Doctors may combine these treatments with prostate surgery or radiation.

Medical cancer treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy — uses drugs in the bloodstream to attack cancer cells in the prostate gland. Doctors and nurses give the chemo by IV or in pill form.·
  • Hormone therapy — lowers the level of male hormones in the body. Testosterone and other male hormones can cause cancer cell growth in the prostate.
  • Immunotherapy — uses drugs to boost your own immune system, helping it to detect and destroy prostate cancer cells.·
  • Gene therapy — is an experimental treatment where doctors insert DNA or RNA into a person's cells to fight the cancer. ·
  • Biologic therapy — involves the use of substances made from living organisms to trigger the immune system to fight cancer cells.
  • Regional perfusion — sends high doses of chemo right to the site of the cancer, reducing damage to healthy tissue. The chemo drugs circulate within a single organ or defined region.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Radiation to treat prostate cancer varies based on the type and stage of disease.

In most cases, doctors use high-energy x-rays or radioactive substances to safely kill cancer cells.

Surgery for prostate cancer

If you have prostate cancer, your doctor will likely suggest prostate surgery to remove a tumor or cancerous tissue. Surgery often goes hand-in-hand with medical treatments or radiation.

Our cancer surgeons are experts in minimally invasive and robotic methods to remove cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) tumors.

Your surgeon will discuss your options after a thorough review of your diagnosis.

Types of prostate surgery include:

  • Radical prostatectomy — removes the entire prostate gland, either with open or laparoscopic surgery. Your doctor may also take tissue samples from the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread.
  • Robotic prostatectomy — minimally invasive removal of the prostate using a robotic system. Benefits of this type of prostate surgery include less pain and blood loss, and a quicker recovery.
  • Bilateral orchiectomy — removes the testicles, which can lower testosterone levels. Some male hormones fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) — involves passing a small probe through the opening of the penis and up to the prostate. Electricity goes through the probe and helps destroy prostate tumors.

Active surveillance for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer often grows slowly. And in most cases, the older you are, the more slowly your cancer will grow.

If you're older when you learn you have prostate cancer, you may never need treatment.

Instead, your doctor may suggest active surveillance that involves watching your prostate cancer closely through:

  • Routine exams.
  • Blood tests.
  • Imaging scans.

If the tests show changes in your cancer, your doctor will talk to you about treatments.

In some cases, you may have the chance to take part in clinical trials of the latest prostate cancer treatments.

Why Choose UPMC for Prostate Cancer Treatment?

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we believe that the best prostate cancer treatment starts with a focus on you.

We offer a range of support services that can help:

  • You feel more at ease.
  • Make your prostate cancer treatments more effective.
  • You and your loved ones manage cancer treatment and recovery.

These include:

  • Behavioral medicine — Psychologists and psychiatrists can help you make a plan for meeting the challenges of prostate cancer.
  • Nutrition for prostate cancer — Our diet and nutrition experts can craft meal plans to help you regain strength or support your health.
  • Prostate cancer pain management — Pain experts will work with your care team to ease any pain from prostate cancer treatment.
  • Palliative care — Our team's goal is to improve the quality of life for those no longer responding to prostate cancer treatments.
  • Social support — Social workers can help you manage the day-to-day aspects of living with prostate cancer.
  • Interpreters — Our team can help non-English speaking patients and others with language barriers discern their treatment.

Contact Us About Prostate Cancer Care

To learn more about prostate cancer care or to make an appointment, you can: