Prostate Cancer Treatment

Expert care and a range of treatment options.

Urologic cancer specialist discusses prostate cancer treatment options with patient

The treatment choices for prostate cancer depend on several things. These include your age and overall health, as well as the size and location of the cancer. Options also depend on lab test results and the stage of the cancer. When prostate cancer is only in the prostate or has only spread to nearby areas, it's called early-stage prostate cancer. This means stage I and II, and some stage III prostate cancers. It’s also called localized or local prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is different from other cancers because not every man with prostate cancer needs to be treated right away. Some people chose to monitor the cancer to see whether it is growing. This approach is called active surveillance or watchful waiting. Learn more about active surveillance.

You may have questions and concerns about your treatment options. For instance, you may want to know if treatment will affect your urinary or sexual function. You may also want to know if you’ll have to change your normal activities.

Your healthcare provider is the best person to answer your questions. They can tell you what your treatment choices are, how successful they’re expected to be, and what the risks and side effects might be. Your provider may advise a certain treatment or a certain combination of treatments. Or they may offer more than one, giving you a choice. This can be a hard decision to make. Each type of treatment has different benefits and risks. You may want to learn all you can about your cancer and treatment choices so that you can make decisions about your care.

Treatment options for prostate cancer

There are several types of treatment for prostate cancer depending on its stage, and many people undergo a combination of treatments.

  • Surgery for prostate cancer is mostly for men in good health and for those whose tumor hasn’t spread outside the prostate. There are three types of surgery:
    • Radical prostatectomy is a surgery that removes the prostate and surrounding tissue.
    • Pelvic lymphadenectomy is a surgery that removes the lymph nodes in the pelvis to look for cancer cells.
    • Transurethral resection of the prostate is a surgery that removes tissue from the prostate.

Legacy offers advanced surgical capabilities, including robotic-assisted surgery, for prostate cancer. This minimally invasive surgery may allow you to return to normal activities faster than with traditional surgery.

  • Radiation therapy is the use of X-rays or radioactive particles to destroy cancer cells. There are several different methods of radiation, such as:
    • Brachytherapy: Radioactive material is placed in the body in direct contact with the tumor. Learn about brachytherapy.
    • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): The radiation beam tailored to match your anatomy and the shape of the tumor.
    • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): The radiation beam and the amount of radiation customized to the area of the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used for advanced prostate cancer. 

  • Hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of cancer by blocking or interfering with hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that control bodily functions like the reproductive system. Hormone therapy can be given as a pill or injection.  

Talk to your doctor about these and other treatments for prostate cancer. There may also be a clinical trial (research study) for which you are eligible. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care.  

Experts in treating prostate cancer

Legacy Cancer Institute, located in Portland, OR, ranks among the nation’s best cancer programs. Our team features some of the region’s most recognized specialists who work together to diagnose and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Find the right provider and treatment close to home.

Legacy Cancer Institute is accredited as an integrated network cancer program by the American College of surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Learn more about our quality cancer care.

Working together for you

Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.

A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.

Legacy Health collaborates with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to advance cancer care in our region. By working together, you benefit from the strength of both leaders in cancer care. As an integrated community cancer program for adults, we make sure that you have access to the latest treatments, technology and research available. 

What happens next

Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these symptoms in the best ways possible. Comfort care can treat symptoms to help improve your quality of life; this is also called palliative care.

To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. These tests can also determine if cancer has returned. Whenever possible, we work to stop the growth of cancer and reduce the chance of cancer coming back.  

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.