Prostate Cancer Treatment
Roughly one in five men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime (NCI 2017c; Pollock 2015). Although prostate cancer can be deadly if it spreads to other organs, it is quite treatable if detected early (NCI 2018b; McLeod 2004). Surgery, radiation, and medicines to block hormones are common treatment options (NCI 2018b; NCCN 2017b). Researchers are continually working to make these treatments better and improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer (Ho 2017; Counago 2017; Montgomery 2016; Roth 2008; Holmboe 2000).
Many medical innovations in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment have emerged in recent years. Advanced imaging techniques such as multiparametric MRI have made diagnosis more accurate and treatment more precise (Ahmed 2017; Bagheri 2017). New blood tests provide patients and doctors with information to better select appropriate treatment strategies (Tosoian, Druskin 2017). Immunotherapy, which has been a huge advance for cancer care in general, is currently an active and promising area of prostate cancer research (Bilusic 2017; Schepisi 2017).
While much discussion centers around specific treatments and diagnostics for prostate cancer, one of the most important aspects of a man’s journey through this disease is his involvement in decisions related to his care. It is important that men take an active, informed role in their prostate cancer care (Baade 2012). Obtaining accurate information is critical for men with prostate cancer—one study found that men who had greater knowledge about their options had better quality-of-life six months after treatment (Orom 2016). A man should work closely with his medical team to discuss key considerations, such as:
- What treatment options are available for the level of disease he has;
- Whether to pursue aggressive treatment options, such as surgery or radiation, or a less aggressive approach, called active surveillance, in early prostate cancer; and
- What are the potential risks and benefits of each treatment option.
This protocol will provide the information that patients and their loved ones need to be informed and active in decisions related to prostate health. You will learn about current tools for finding and diagnosing prostate cancer, and treatment options for all stages of the disease. This protocol also includes details on many promising new treatments being developed, as well as integrative, natural interventions that may complement conventional therapy.
This protocol focuses on prostate cancer treatment. More information about prevention is available in the Prostate Cancer Prevention protocol. Readers are encouraged to review both of these protocols, as well as other relevant cancer-related protocols: