Treatment overview for advanced prostate cancer

The treatments for advanced prostate cancer are hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. You may have a combination of these. Your cancer doctor and nurse will talk to you about the treatments that are most likely to be helpful for you. They will explain the different side effects and ask you about your preferences.

Prostate cancer needs the hormone testosterone to grow. You will usually have hormonal therapy to reduce testosterone levels. You can have it as injections and often along with hormonal tablets.

Chemotherapy can be given after hormonal therapy. But some men have it with hormonal therapy. If you have pain in the bones, radiotherapy can be given to control this.

Some men have problems passing urine. They may have surgery to help with this. Occasionally, men have surgery to remove part of the testicles. This is done to reduce testosterone levels instead of having hormonal injections.

You may see a nurse who specialises in giving support and treating symptoms. They are sometimes called palliative care nurses.

Treatment overview

When prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, you can have treatments to help to control the cancer. Although the cancer cannot be cured, it can be controlled, sometimes for several years. Treatments can also help relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Your doctor and nurse will help you to understand the treatments and how they may affect you. If you have someone close to you, it can help to take them to appointments with your healthcare team. They may remember any questions you have or information you have been given.

I didn’t think I’d be here now. After my diagnosis, I began to read more about it. I discovered it can be controlled. I’m still under control 15 months later.

Charlie


Treatments

The main treatments are hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Some men have a combination of these. Your cancer doctor and nurse will talk to you about the treatments that may be helpful in your situation. This will depend on:

  • your general health
  • where the cancer is and the symptoms it is causing
  • any previous treatments you have had for prostate cancer
  • how treatments and their side effects will affect your everyday life.

Your doctor will consider your preferences and help you decide on the right treatment plan for you.

Hormonal therapy

Prostate cancer needs testosterone to grow. Hormonal therapies reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. This may slow the growth of the cancer or stop it growing for a while.

Hormonal therapy is recommended for most men with advanced prostate cancer. You can have it as injections. You often have these injections alongside hormonal tablets. Some men have hormonal therapy along with chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Some men have it with hormonal therapy when they are first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Or it may be given when hormonal therapy is no longer controlling the cancer.

Radiotherapy

You may have radiotherapy to improve symptoms such as pain in the prostate area or the bones. Radiotherapy can also help strengthen a weakened bone.

Surgery

Surgery to remove the prostate is not suitable for men with advanced prostate cancer. Some men may have an operation called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) to help relieve problems with passing urine (peeing). Another type of operation removes part of the testicles. This is called a subcapsular orchidectomy. It is done to reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. Surgery may also be used to help control other symptoms or to help stabilise a bone that is at risk of breaking.

There are other treatments available that can relieve and control any symptoms you may have.

We have a video about treating advanced prostate cancer.

Help and support

Specialist nurses called palliative care nurses can also provide help and support. They are experienced in assessing and treating symptoms of advanced cancer. You may meet them when you are at a clinic or in hospital.

There is also support available to help you cope with the emotional impact of cancer and its treatment. Your cancer doctor or GP may be able to refer you to a doctor or counsellor who specialises in supporting people with cancer and their families. Our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 can tell you more about support services and counselling in your area.

Treatment for advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer

A urologist talks about treatment options for advanced prostate cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Treatment for advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer

A urologist talks about treatment options for advanced prostate cancer.

About our cancer information videos

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