Know Your Options When It Comes to Prostate Cancer
Are you worried about your risk for prostate cancer? Or have you or a loved one been diagnosed with prostate cancer? If so, having accurate information about the disease and its treatment can help you make the best healthcare decision for your situation.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, with some 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. It occurs when cells in the small, walnut-sized prostate gland in the male reproductive system begin to grow uncontrollably.
Although prostate cancer usually has no symptoms, it often is slow growing and can be monitored before surgery, radiation therapy, or other treatments are recommended. For aggressive tumors or cancer that has spread to other areas (metastatic cancer), systemic therapies such as hormonal treatments, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy are used to give patients the longest and best quality of life with prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Treatments
As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Fox Chase works with patients to choose a treatment plan that seeks the best outcome, while preserving function and reducing the risk of recurrence. In addition, our doctors expand their approaches as clinical trials at Fox Chase and elsewhere reveal the latest effective treatments for prostate cancer.
Treatment Options at Each Stage
Treatment options depend on a variety of factors, including each patient's health, age, cancer type and stage, and personal preferences. Clinical trial participation may be possible for patients with any cancer stage.
Stage I and II: Cancer cells remain localized in the prostate.
- The tumor type and the patient's health/age may qualify patients for an "active surveillance"� approach before treatment becomes necessary.
- Treatment options include radiation therapy (external beam or brachytherapy) and/or prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) using robotic-assisted, laparoscopic, or traditional surgery techniques, and clinical trial participation.
Stage III: The tumor has grown through the capsule surrounding the prostate and may have invaded the surrounding fat or seminal vesicles, which are adjacent to the prostate.
- Treatments include external beam radiation plus hormone therapy, and prostatectomy with removal of the pelvic lymph nodes in selected cases.
- Older men or those with other medical problems may choose active surveillance or less aggressive treatments, such as hormone therapy.
Stage IV: The disease has invaded other local organs or spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).
- While a very small portion of metastatic cancers may be curable, most stage IV cancers are treatable but can't be cured. Therapies are designed to keep the cancer under control for as long as possible and to improve a man's quality of life.
- Treatments include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, external beam radiation, and occasionally surgery to relieve symptoms such as bleeding or urinary obstruction.
- For certain kinds of advanced prostate cancer, immunotherapy may be an option. Immunotherapy stimulates the body's own immune system to fight the cancer.
- Clinical trials may always be an option in order to provide access to new therapies that are not yet FDA approved.
Why Choose Fox Chase for Prostate Cancer Care
Fox Chase's doctors and specialists are highly trained and experienced in treating all stages of prostate cancer. Our multidisciplinary prostate cancer team works together to provide some of the latest treatments and technology available for prostate cancer today, including the following:
- Surgery: Fox Chase surgeons are highly experienced in prostate cancer surgery-and aim to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, while completely removing the cancer. To that end, many surgeries at Fox Chase are performed using minimally invasive robotic techniques.
- Radiation Therapy: Fox Chase radiation oncologists have helped develop advanced treatment techniques that are quickly becoming the standard of care for prostate cancer patients. For example, using a technique called hypofractionation, patients can complete their course of radiation therapy much faster than conventional treatment. In recent studies, this technique has been shown to be just as safe and effective as conventional radiation therapy.
- Systemic Therapy: Medical oncologists at Fox Chase have extensive expertise in developing treatment plans tailored to each patient's disease or tumor biology, utilizing targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and clinical trials to formulate a comprehensive, patient-centered and team-based plan for each individual.
By using advanced techniques, therapies, and technologies that weren't available until just a few years ago, our doctors and specialists help many patients with prostate cancer live very normal lives for many years.