Know your treatment options
Yes—you do have choices, even when your cancer has metastasized!
Treatments for metastatic prostate cancer have come a long way and are getting better every day. The right therapies for you will depend on several factors—your age and health, your treatment goals and the characteristics of your cancer, including where and how much it has spread. Your doctor also considers your response to any prior treatments.
Explore all the options with your urologist or medical oncologist to come up with a treatment approach that works for you.
Hormone therapy is often used to slow or stop the progression of metastatic cancer. Also called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), it blocks the production of male hormones called androgens (such as testosterone), which promote the growth of prostate cancer. When hormone therapy or surgery fails to slow the growth of tumors that have spread to other parts of the body, it’s known as metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). For men with mCRPC, there are new hormonal agents that can block the activity of testosterone in the testicles, adrenal glands and in the tumor itself.
Chemotherapy may be used if hormone therapies are not appropriate for you or if they’ve been used and no longer control your cancer. Chemo drugs can destroy or shrink tumors, slow cancer’s growth and control your symptoms. Chemo drugs can also harm or kill normal cells along with cancer cells.
Today, doctors may also choose to fight prostate cancer using a chemotherapy medication simultaneously with ADT.
Immunotherapy (or biologic therapy) works with the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Vaccines—a type of immunotherapy—are currently being used in patients with metastatic prostate cancer to help the immune system attack malignant cells. However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this type of therapy.
Radiation therapy can kill tumors, treat bone pain and relieve swelling. Different types of radiation treatments are available that can focus radiation on tumors and spare healthy tissue.
Surgery may be used to remove a tumor and also to treat fractures caused when prostate cancer metastasizes to the bones. In some advanced cases, surgery to remove the testicles can be performed to lower testosterone levels and prolong survival time.