Treatment choices

Your treatment options will depend on whether your cancer is contained within the prostate gland (localised), has spread just outside of the prostate (locally advanced) or had spread to other parts of the body (advanced).

You may have a choice of treatments. Your doctor or specialist nurse will explain all your treatment options, and help you to choose the right treatment for you.

The first treatment you have may affect which treatments you can have in the future, if you need further treatment. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.

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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. See a list of all treatments for localised prostate cancer.

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

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.

Locally advanced prostate cancer

Locally advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has started to break out of the prostate, or has spread to the area just outside the prostate.

Some treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer aim to get rid of the cancer, while others aim to keep it under control. See a list of all treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer

You may have a choice of treatments, depending on how far your cancer has spread. If you have questions about your treatment options, you can call our Specialist Nurses or chat to a nurse online.

Choosing a treatment

If you have a choice of treatments, the treatment you choose may depend on several things. You might want to think about the following things:

  • how far the 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
  • your own thoughts about different treatments.

Advanced prostate cancer

Advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer is cancer that has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. It develops when prostate cancer cells move from the prostate to other parts of the body through the blood stream or lymphatic system.

Prostate cancer can spread to any part of the body, but most commonly to the bones. More than four out of five men (80 per cent) with advanced prostate cancer will have cancer that has spread to their bones.

Another common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the lymph nodes (sometimes called lymph glands). Lymph nodes are part of your lymphatic system and are found throughout your body. Some of the lymph nodes are in the pelvic area – near the prostate.

Advanced prostate cancer can cause symptoms, such as fatigue (extreme tiredness), bone pain and problems urinating. Some treatments for advanced prostate cancer, including hormone therapy and chemotherapy, can help to relieve or reduce symptoms. There are also specific treatments to help manage symptoms.

It's not possible to cure advanced prostate cancer, but treatments can keep it under control, sometimes for several years. See a list of all treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions about treatments or have any symptoms. You can also speak to our Specialist Nurses over the phone or online.