Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:

  • Your age and general health
  • Stage and grade of cancer
  • Whether the cancer has spread
  • Side effects of treatment

There is no “best” treatment for prostate cancer. Your treatment will be based on your symptoms and customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms. Each treatment option also has its own side effects, which your doctor will review with you.

Learn more about our Prostate Cancer Treatments

The two main surgical techniques for removal of the prostate are open surgery and robot-assisted (laparoscopic) minimally invasive surgery.

Learn more about surgical treatment

Radiation treatment therapy often is used to treat prostate cancer that is contained within the prostate or the surrounding area.

Learn more about radiation therapy treatment 

About one-third of prostate cancer patients require hormone therapy (also called androgen deprivation), which blocks testosterone production or blocks testosterone from interacting with the tumor cells.

Learn more about hormone therapy treatment 

Most physicians reserve the use of chemotherapy for prostate cancer that has spread to other organs and is no longer responding to hormone therapy.

The two primary types of chemotherapy treatments for prostate cancer are:

  • Taxotere® (docetaxel) is the one of the standard chemotherapy agents for adenocarcinoma of the prostate
  • Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is used to treat the small-cell variant of prostate cancer.

The number of chemotherapy treatments recommended will vary depending on the stage of the prostate cancer and how it responds to the treatment. 

Side effects of chemotherapy for prostate cancer may include:

  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fatigue

At Banner MD Anderson, we are always researching new and alternative chemotherapy options for prostate cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor about the latest treatments available to see if they’re right for you.

Gene Therapy for Prostate Cancer

We have the expertise to examine each prostate cancer tumor carefully to determine gene-expression profiles. Genes that are commonly involved in prostate cancer include mutations of the ATM gene or BRCA gene. Ongoing research will help us determine the most effective and least invasive treatment targeted to specific cancers. This personalized medicine approach sets us above and beyond most cancer centers and allows us to attack the specific causes of each cancer for the best outcome.

Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer

During cryotherapy for prostate cancer, the tumor is frozen with a long, thin probe inserted into the tumor. In some cases, a focal cryotherapy treatment may be utilized. In focal cryotherapy only the area that contains the most aggressive cancer cells is treated. With all cryotherapy, intensive follow-up with X-rays or other imaging procedures is required to ensure that the tumor has been destroyed. 

Targeted Therapies

Banner MD Anderson is leading some of the world’s most innovative research, examining newer agents that are specially designed to treat each cancer’s specific genetic/molecular profile and help your body fight the disease. Newer treatments may include photodynamic therapy, targeted alpha therapy or stem cell therapies. To learn more about the latest targeted therapies available, consult with your physician. 



Because prostate cancer usually grows slowly, some men with prostate cancer, especially those who are older or have other health problems, may never be treated for it. Instead, their doctors may recommend active surveillance, an approach also known as "watchful waiting.”

So just what is watchful waiting for prostate cancer? It’s an approach that involves closely monitoring the prostate cancer without active treatment such as surgery or radiation therapy. Biopsies and PSA tests are repeated at set intervals, and treatment may be recommended if the tumor shows an increase in the volume or the grade (Gleason score). The ideal candidate for watchful waiting is a patient with low-grade tumors, especially if he is older and has any additional health issues.

Long-term studies of active surveillance for men with low-volume, low-grade prostate cancer tumors show that approximately 70% can maintain this approach for up to 10 years without requiring treatment.