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Unlike other types of cancer, prostate cancer doesn't always require treatment because it tends to be slow growing. Your healthcare provider may instead recommend active surveillance, which means regularly monitoring the cancer – via prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, digital rectal exams, interval prostate biopsies and other tests – for any signs of growth or symptoms.
If you do require more aggressive treatment, your provider may want to discuss these options:
Prostatectomy, which removes the entire prostate, is the most common treatment for prostate cancer. In some cases, surrounding tissue will be removed as well. At Levine Cancer Institute, the latest in minimally invasive prostate surgery – called laparoscopic radical prostatectomy – is available via robot-assisted surgery. During the procedure, a thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted through a small incision at the belly button. This allows surgeons to better see the treatment area. Other incisions are made so mini-surgical instruments are able to access the prostate for removal. Benefits of minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery include less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times. Often, the lymph nodes are removed in a similar fashion at the same time as the prostatectomy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays aimed at the prostate to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. This energy may be delivered via a machine or through radioactive seeds that are surgically placed in or near the tumor. In some cases, radiation therapy may be a primary treatment for prostate cancer, or it can be combined with chemotherapy. Levine Cancer Institute also offers precision-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT.
Chemotherapy shrinks or kills cancer with powerful medications that may be given in pill form or through an IV tube. While chemotherapy is usually not a primary treatment for prostate cancer, it may be used in men who have advanced or recurrent cancer, or who have not responded to other treatment
Hormone therapy lowers or stops the production of testosterone and may be used by itself or in conjunction with other types of treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.
Clinical trials offer patients access to the latest treatment options under development they would normally not have access to.