Localised prostate cancer

There are a number of treatments available for localised prostate cancer – cancer that's contained inside the prostate gland. Most of these aim to get rid of the cancer.

If you have questions about your treatment options, you can call our Specialist Nurses or chat to a nurse online.

See a list of treatments for localised prostate cancer.

Do I need treatment?

Localised prostate cancer often grows slowly – or might not grow at all – and has a low risk of spreading. So it may never cause you any problems or affect how long you live. Because of this, slow-growing localised prostate cancer might not need to be treated. You might be able to have your cancer monitored with regular check-ups instead.

There are two ways of monitoring localised prostate cancer – active surveillance and watchful waiting. Both approaches aim to monitor the cancer over the long term. You won’t have treatment unless the cancer starts to grow or you get symptoms. This means you'll avoid or delay the side effects of treatment.

Choosing a treatment

Your doctor or nurse will talk you through your treatment options and help you choose the right treatment for you. There’s no overall best treatment, and each one has its own pros and cons. All treatments also have side effects, such as urinary problems, problems getting an erection, and fatigue.

You might want to think about the following things:

  • how far your cancer has spread (its stage) and how quickly it may be growing
  • your age and general health – for example, if you have any other health problems
  • what each treatment involves
  • the possible side effects of each treatment
  • practical things such as how often you would need to go to hospital
  • how you feel about different treatments – for example some men prefer to have their prostate removed, while others don't want surgery
  • how the treatment you choose now would affect your treatment options in the future if your cancer comes back or spreads.

Make sure you have all the information you need, and give yourself time to think about what is right for you. Your doctor or nurse can help you think about the pros and cons.

It can help to write down any questions you want to ask at your next appointment. And to write down or record what’s said to help you remember it. It can also help to take someone to appointments, such as your partner, friend or family member.

Treatments for localised prostate cancer

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 with a type of internal radiotherapy called brachytherapy. 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

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

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