Good prostate cancer care
For many men with prostate cancer, no treatment will be necessary. Good care will mean keeping an eye on the cancer, ensuring it does not develop into a fast-growing cancer.
When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it does not shorten life expectancy and affects everyday life as little as possible. Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms.
People with cancer should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of specialists who work together to provide the best treatment and care.
The team often consists of a specialist cancer surgeon, an oncologist (a radiotherapy and chemotherapy specialist), a radiologist, pathologist, radiographer and a specialist nurse. Other members may include a physiotherapist, dietitian and occupational therapist. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.
When deciding what treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:
- the type and size of the cancer
- what grade it is
- your general health
- whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body
Good care for prostate cancer includes giving information to men and their partners or carers about the treatment of prostate cancer and its effects on:
- your ability to control urination and bowel movement
- your sex life
- your physical appearance
- other physical and psychological aspects of masculinity that might be affected by sex hormone treatment
Your MDT will be able to recommend what they feel are the best treatment options, but ultimately the decision is yours.
Your MDT should also let you know about any clinical trials which you may be eligible for. See prostate cancer clinical trials for a database of trials currently studying prostate cancer.
In 2008, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) made recommendations about treatments offered to men with the three main stages of prostate cancer:
- localised prostate cancer (cancer that is just in the prostate gland)
- locally advanced prostate cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the prostate capsule, but is still connected to the prostate gland)
- relapsed (cancer that has returned after treatment) and metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread outside the prostate gland, with no remaining link to the original cancer in the prostate gland)