Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland. Cancer that has not spread outside the prostate gland is called localized prostate cancer.
Men with localized prostate cancer have options for their care. Some men with a slowly growing cancer choose active surveillance. This means that their doctors will watch them closely with regular checkups and tests. If their cancer grows, then they can decide about treatment. And some men choose watchful waiting. This means theydon't want any treatment that tries to cure their cancer. Other men choose to treat their cancer right away. They can choose to have radiation to destroy the cancer cells in the prostate. Or they can choose to have surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy).
Tests show if a localized prostate cancer is likely to grow.
Some men may have limited treatment choices because of their health. For example, a man who has serious health concerns may not be well enough to have surgery. Or a man who has a serious bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis may not be able to have radiation. Your doctor will help you know if you have options.
This information is about choosing between radiation or surgery.
If your goal is to treat the cancer by having your prostate removed, then you may want to choose surgery. For some men, the idea of "getting the cancer out" brings a sense of relief. For other men, avoiding radiation may be what is important to them.
If your goal is to treat the cancer and avoid the risks of major surgery, then you may want to choose radiation. For some men, preserving their sexual function for as long as possible is what they value most. Having radiation rather than surgery may help avoid erection problems.
To make the decision that is best for you, take the time to understand your options. Sometimes the medical facts will guide your decision. But a good decision also reflects what matters most to you. This includes how you feel about radiation or surgery and the likely side effects.
Think about what you value. Then talk with your doctor.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Richard M. Hoffman, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine
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