Treatments for advanced prostate cancer
If your cancer has spread beyond your prostate, your treatment team may offer you radiation, hormone treatment and chemotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments may also be provided.
Chemotherapy may benefit men with advanced prostate cancer when hormone therapies are no longer working. It is not used for early-stage prostate cancer.
It may also be used as a first treatment if you are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. It can be given alongside hormone treatment.
Chemotherapy is the use of medication to kill cancer cells while doing the least possible harm to normal cells. It is usually given intravenously to the bloodstream.
Common side-effects of chemotherapy include tiredness, hair loss and increased risk of infection.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your own immune system to fight cancer.
It is possible that immunotherapy will become an important treatment option for men with prostate cancer in the future.
You can read more about chemotherapy and immunotherapy in our booklet: Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy and Targeted Treatments on our website www.cancernz.org.nz.
Other treatments include:
- surgery called transurethral resection of the prostate, which is the removal of prostate tissue that is pressing on the urethra and causing an obstruction
- radiation treatment to painful areas in the bone
- bone-strengthening treatments.
Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life – it is not just about care at the end of life.
Care can be offered in a hospital, a rest home, at home or in a hospice. Coordinated care is provided by specialist doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual care workers and cultural health services.
Palliative care will help:
- you to enjoy the best quality of life you can for as long as possible
- to make sure that your physical, practical, emotional and spiritual needs are looked after as well as possible
- to manage symptoms of your cancer
- to manage side-effects of treatment
- to help you feel in control of your situation
- to make your time as positive as it can be for you and your family/whānau.
It is a good idea to ask for palliative care early. Dealing with concerns early rather than waiting until they become difficult to manage can help to reduce stress for both you and your family/whānau.
You may also be faced with decisions that are hard to make during your illness. The palliative care team may be able to explain things to you, and help you to find answers. In general, palliative care services are free. There may be a charge for hire of some equipment if you are being cared for at home.
For more information on advanced cancer, see the Cancer Society’s booklet Advanced Cancer/Matepukupuku Maukaha on our website, www.cancernz.org.nz.