Prostate Cancer Treatments

You and your doctor have many options to treat prostate cancer.
The most common treatments options are discussed in this section.

Treatments for prostate cancer

Active surveillance1

Because some prostate cancer tumors can grow slowly, a “watch-and-wait” approach may be the right treatment for some men. Watchful waiting does NOT mean that the cancer is ignored. Your doctor will continue to observe and run tests, usually every 3 to 6 months.


There are different types of surgery to prevent cancer from spreading outside the prostate:

  • Radical retropubic prostatectomy: Removes the entire prostate because prostate cancer is generally not a single tumor. Instead, it may be a number of small tumors scattered throughout prostate gland2
  • Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP): Is a less invasive surgery in which a surgeon inserts special long instruments in several small incisions to remove the prostate. This allows for less blood loss and pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery times than are found with open radical prostatectomy.1
  • Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy or robotic-assisted LRP: The surgeon controls robotic arms to perform the operation through several small incisions1


Radiation is used when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland or has only spread to nearby tissue. Brachytherapy is a type of radiation procedure for prostate cancer in which small radioactive “seeds” are placed directly into the prostate.1,3 External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) uses a number of different techniques to focus beams of radiation on the prostate gland from a machine outside the body.1

Hormonal therapies1,2

Hormonal therapies lower the level of male hormones, such as testosterone. They do not cure cancer. There are generally 3 types of hormonal therapy:

Surgical castration (orchiectomy): An outpatient procedure that reduces male hormone production1

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists and antagonists: drugs that lower male hormone levels to similar levels as surgical castration.1 They are administered via injection (shots) or implant anywhere from once a month to once a year, depending on the drug used.1,2 ELIGARD is the only product of its kind to be administered under the skin, rather than deeply into a muscle.

Antiandrogen drugs: Drugs that block the body’s ability to use male hormones.1


Chemotherapy may be used if the cancer has spread outside the prostate. Chemotherapy, generally administered via an infusion (IV) or pill, kills cancer cells, but does not always cure cancer.

  1. Prostate cancer. American Cancer Society Web site. Accessed December 3, 2015.
  2. Carroll PR, Carducci MA, Zietman AL, Rothaermel JM. Report to the nation on prostate cancer: a guide for men and their families. Prostate Cancer Foundation Web site.{7c77d6a2-5859-4d60-af47-132fd0f85892}/REPORT_TO_NATION_GUIDE.PDF. Accessed September 14, 2015.
  3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network®. NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Prostate Cancer. Version 1.2015. National Comprehensive Cancer Network® Web site. Accessed September 14, 2015.