How to treat prostate cancer
There are a number of different treatments used for the management of prostate cancer, and, depending on the circumstances, if one treatment isn't suitable for you or you find it's not working well, there may be other options to consider.
What is the treatment for prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, Theranostics or a combination of these. Your consultant will discuss and agree the best treatment plan for you based on your diagnosis and needs to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome.
Radiotherapy (radiation therapy) uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It is often a preferred treatment option for early-stage prostate cancer (which has not yet spread) because it’s less invasive than surgery.
Private radiotherapy for prostate cancer at GenesisCare
We’re the leading private provider of prostate cancer radiotherapy in the UK. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines are designed to deliver highly targeted treatment to maximise effectiveness and minimise side effects, such as impotence and incontinence. The accuracy of these technologies, together with the expertise of our teams, means that we can often complete a course of radiotherapy in a shorter amount of time – sometimes in just one week.
The type of radiotherapy and the number of sessions you’ll need will depend on the stage of your cancer. Your consultant will explain these to you when discussing your treatment plan.
Volumetric modulated arc therapy
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is an advanced form of radiotherapy that directs beams of radiation while the machine moves in an arc across your body. The machine, called a linac, adjusts the shape of the radiation beam and intensity of the radiation dose as it moves.
This means it can accurately target the prostate cancer cells and avoid areas such as the rectum as much as possible. This can help reduce side effects compared to conventional radiotherapy.
We offer VMAT as standard to all eligible patients with early-stage prostate cancer.
Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy
Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) uses very focused high-intensity radiation beams to remove tumours in five or fewer sessions. A shorter treatment schedule compared to conventional radiotherapy helps you get back to your normal life as soon as possible, with minimal disruption. SABR is often used instead of surgery or conventional radiotherapy if you have low- to intermediate-risk localised prostate cancer, where it hasn’t spread outside of your prostate.
MRIdian MRI-guided radiotherapy
The MRIdian is a new type of linac used for SABR. This innovative technology includes an MRI scanner to take live images, so it can see exactly where a tumour is at the same time as treating it. Safely avoiding the healthy tissues and organs surrounding the prostate cancer helps reduce side effects. We have the first two MRIdian MR linacs in the UK at our centres in Oxford and Cromwell Hospital in London. We accept referrals from all over the UK and can help you with transport depending on your treatment and location.
Rectal spacers are an effective technique to reduce the bowel, urinary and erectile dysfunction side effects of prostate radiotherapy. They protect your rectum during radiotherapy treatment by moving it away from the prostate gland and the radiation beam.
We offer spacers at no extra cost if you’re having VMAT for prostate cancer.
Fiducial markers are very small gold or platinum objects, about the size of a grain of rice, that are inserted into your prostate by a urologist prior to receiving prostate radiotherapy. They’re clearly visible on CT scans and help to improve treatment set up. This ensures that the prostate radiotherapy is delivered with consistent accuracy across all the treatment days, reducing the amount of radiotherapy to surrounding healthy organs and leading to fewer side effects.
Depending on the proposed treatment, the fiducial markers and rectal spacer can be inserted in a single procedure under local anaesthetic at one of our outpatient centres prior to treatment.
Side effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer
Prostate radiotherapy side effects can vary from person to person. Learn more about managing side effects of radiotherapy. Some of the most common side effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer include:
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Loss of pubic hair
- Difficulty passing urine
- Erectile dysfunction
Prostate cancer surgery
If your consultant recommends prostate cancer surgery, for example, a radical prostatectomy to remove your prostate gland, we can conveniently arrange this at one of our partner hospitals. You’ll be able to continue your other treatments and care at GenesisCare.
This new treatment for recurrent prostate cancer is an exciting development and gives hope to me and other men looking for an effective treatment.
Lawrence, MRIdian prostate reirradiation patient
Hormone therapy (also called androgen deprivation therapy) blocks or lowers the amount of testosterone in your body that prostate cancer needs to grow. Hormone therapy is often used with other treatments like radiotherapy to help make them more effective.
Private hormone therapy for prostate cancer at GenesisCare
If your consultant decides hormone therapy is the best treatment for you, you can have it either as tablets, injections, implants or by removing your testicles. Your consultant will work with you to develop a personalised care plan based on your specific diagnosis and personal choice.
Throughout your treatment, you’ll be supported by a healthcare team of highly trained nurses and oncology pharmacists who are experts in this treatment. You'll have regular follow-ups, including PSA tests, to check how your treatment is working and manage any side effects.
What happens when hormone treatment for prostate cancer stops working?
Hormone therapy often stops working after months or even years. If or when this happens, there are different treatment options available, depending on your previous treatments, symptoms, specific diagnosis and personal preferences. Your doctor might recommend a different type of hormone therapy or a different treatment such as chemotherapy, Radium-223 or 177Lutetium PSMA therapy, or even new treatments available through clinical trials.
Chemotherapy is a type of anti-cancer drug treatment used to kill cancer cells and slow cancer spread. Chemotherapy for prostate cancer is used when the cancer has spread to other parts of your body outside the prostate (called metastases).
Private chemotherapy for prostate cancer at GenesisCare
We offer access to the latest chemotherapy treatments with specialist cancer nurses, on-site chemotherapy suites and a 24/7 on-call service. Most common side effects caused by chemotherapy are temporary, but you might be affected by them after your treatment ends. We’ll work closely with you to limit the impact of them as much as possible.
If prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced prostate cancer or metastatic prostate cancer. There are various treatment options for advanced prostate cancer. The best treatment for advanced prostate cancer depends on your specific situation, including your general health, diagnosis, and previous treatments.
Advanced prostate cancer treatment
177Lutetium PSMA therapy
At GenesisCare we also offer a ground-breaking innovative treatment called 177Lutetium PSMA therapy. 177Lutetium is a radionuclide and works like a smart ‘homing missile’ targeting PSMA on the surface of prostate cancer cells and emitting radiation to destroy the cancer whilst minimising exposure to other parts of the body. The aim of this treatment is to reduce the size and progress of the cancer and ease any related symptoms.
We offer this innovative treatment at our centre in Windsor for patients in the UK or from overseas.
Radium-223 therapy is a treatment for prostate cancer that has spread (metastasised) to your bones and is causing you pain. Your consultant may recommend Radium-223 therapy if your cancer has become resistant to hormone therapy or other treatments are unsuitable. This kind of cancer can’t be completely eradicated, so the aim of Radium-223 therapy is to ease pain and slow down the progress of the disease.
Palliative radiotherapy can be used for cancer that has spread, for example, into the pelvis. In this case, we offer VMAT radiotherapy to improve pain and mobility, usually within 8 hours of a treatment planning scan.
GenesisCare conducts internationally recognised, high-quality cancer research and clinical trials. Our doctors and research staff have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that’s helping to improve healthcare in the UK and around the world, investigating new treatments and how to prevent disease. Find out more about the clinical trials we are currently offering.
Designing better care for those with prostate cancer
If you choose private prostate cancer treatment at GenesisCare, you can expect a personalised treatment plan that includes life-changing therapies to support you throughout your cancer treatment and beyond.
Exercise medicine is a programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Exercise can improve your quality of life and limit the impact of cancer, such as building your strength and reducing fatigue.
Our physiotherapists specialise in exercise for people living with cancer. They’ll provide you with a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app (available on Google Play Store and the Apple app store). They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.
We also offer a wellbeing expert and provide holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology. We offer this through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. Penny Brohn UK is a pioneer in integrative cancer care practices to support your emotional and physical wellbeing. This unique and evidence-informed approach is available to all cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Penny Brohn UK to others. Whilst cancer is a physical disease your brain and mind can impact your immune system which is so key to your overall health.
Amardeep, Penny Brohn UK patient with prostate cancer
Prostate Cancer UK
Cancer Research UK
Why go private?
Why go private?
The benefits of choosing private prostate cancer care
Each year, hundreds of men choose private prostate cancer treatment at GenesisCare for:
- The latest techniques and treatments, as well as integrative cancer care to support you physically and emotionally through your treatment
- Fast and easy access to tests, scans and treatments with no delay and at times convenient to you
- Leading consultants supported by a team of health professionals specialising in cancer care including surgeons, radiologists, radiographers, clinical nurse specialists and wellbeing therapists
It was brilliant! Right from the receptionist, everyone was smiling, happy faces. It’s a really good place to be ill in!
Ian, patient with prostate cancer
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