How do we treat prostate cancer?
Some prostate cancers grow so slowly that treatment may not be needed at all. Others grow fast and are life-threatening, so treatment is usually necessary. The shape and delivery of your treatment can vary. While working with Cancer Care of North Florida specialists, you will obtain a plan ideally suited to your situation. Every aspect of treatment is carefully considered before being used. Our goal is to provide you the most effective treatment available for you. We have the tools and resources to bring the very best outcomes. Our experienced team of clinical navigators will walk you through every step of the way. Your treatment plan will depend on:
- The stage and grade of the cancer (Gleason score and TNM stage)
- Your risk category (whether the cancer is low, intermediate, or high risk)
- Your age and health
- Your preferences with respect to side effects, long-term effects, and treatment goals
Results from other diagnostic tests will help your provider understand if the cancer can spread or recur (return) after treatment.
Before you decide what to do, you should consider how immediate and long-term side effects from treatment will affect your life, and what you’re willing to tolerate. Also, you should consider that you may try different things over time.
After complete review of your medical history and symptoms, Cancer Care of North Florida often recommend comprehensive diagnostic procedures to provide a complete picture and begin planning your individualized treatment profile. We use the most advanced therapies available to treat prostate cancer. An individualized plan of care may include multiple types of treatments.
Types of diagnostic testing procedures:
- Genetic testing
- PSA blood screening
- High-definition ultrasound
- Prostate biopsy
- Imaging with CT scan, PET scan and bone scan
- MRI fusion biopsies
- Multiparametric MRI imaging
- Targeted and saturation biopsy techniques
- Pre-biopsy PCR testing
- Lymph node biopsy
Treatment choices for Prostate Cancer include:
Active Surveillance – Low-grade prostate cancer may not need treatment right away. For some, treatment may never be needed. Instead, sometimes we recommend active surveillance. In active surveillance, regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and prostate biopsies may be performed to monitor progression of your cancer. If tests show your cancer is progressing, you may opt for a prostate cancer treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Active surveillance may be an option for cancer that isn’t causing symptoms, is expected to grow very slowly, and is confined to a small area of the prostate. Active surveillance may also be considered for someone who has another serious health condition or who is of an advanced age that makes cancer treatment more difficult.
Surgery to remove the prostate – Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy), some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes. Surgery is an option for treating cancer that’s confined to the prostate. It’s sometimes used to treat advanced prostate cancer in combination with other treatments.
Radiation therapy – Cancer Care of North Florida offers comprehensive prostate cancer care and partners with Cancer Center of North Florida Radiation Oncology. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. During external beam radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a machine moves around your body, directing high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to your prostate. You typically undergo external beam radiation treatments five days a week for several weeks.
It can also be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain if there’s a risk that the cancer could spread or come back. For prostate cancer that spreads to other areas of the body, such as the bones, radiation therapy can help slow the cancer’s growth and relieve symptoms, such as pain.
Hormone Therapy – Hormone therapy or also known as androgen suppression therapy is treatment to stop your body from producing the male hormones called androgens. Prostate cancer cells rely on androgens to help them grow. The main androgens in the body are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Cutting off the supply of androgens may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.
Hormone therapy is often used to treat advanced prostate cancer to shrink the cancer and slow its growth. Hormone therapy is sometimes used before or during radiation therapy to treat cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the prostate. It helps shrink the cancer and increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (chemo) are anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into your vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemotherapy can sometimes be given before, during or after surgery. At Cancer Care of North Florida, our team provide extensive education and supportive care through your therapy.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your body’s disease-fighting immune system may not attack your cancer because the cancer cells produce proteins that help them hide from the immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfering with that process.
Targeted drug therapy – Targeted drug treatments focus on specific abnormalities present within cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die. Targeted therapy drugs may be recommended to treat advanced or recurrent prostate cancer if hormone therapy isn’t working. Some targeted therapies only work in people whose cancer cells have certain genetic mutations. Your cancer cells may be tested in a laboratory to see if these drugs might help you.