Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, which has led to many technological advances in treatment options. While it is a common form of cancer, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to treatment. At Cone Health, physicians work with patients to develop a customized treatment plan based on their individual needs.
There are many treatment options for prostate cancer. For men with localized prostate cancer, these include active surveillance, prostatectomy, external radiation therapy and prostate brachytherapy.
- Active surveillance is an excellent choice for men with low risk disease. With this option, men work with their urologist to carefully track the prostate cancer with lab work and other tests. Additional treatment such as surgery or radiation can be given at any time if the cancer shows signs of progression.
- Surgery has become a very popular option with the advent of the DaVinci robot. Robotic prostatectomies can be performed through small incisions, and the recovery time is rapid.
- External radiotherapy can now be given using image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy, which allows radiation oncologists to pinpoint the location of the prostate and treat it with effective doses of radiation while sparing nearby organs from exposure.
- Prostate brachytherapy, also known as seed implant, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure to implant radioactive "seeds" into the prostate gland to kill cancer cells.
The Cone Health Cancer Center has recently adopted the use of SpaceOAR, a polymer gel used during brachytherapy. The gel pushes the rectum away from the radiation of the seeds, reducing the amount delivered to the rectum, resulting in fewer side effects due to treatment.
For men with more advanced or refractory cases, where cancer has spread or doesn’t respond to treatment, Cone Health offers a wide variety of systemic therapies that treat cancer throughout the body. One of the more recent advances offered by Cone Health is a radioactive infusion of Radium-223, which is performed monthly for six doses as an outpatient procedure. Radium-223 has been shown to improve survival with minimal side effects.
A prostate cancer diagnosis can certainly evoke fear and anxiety in an individual, and it is important for patients to become their own advocate when discussing treatment options with their doctor. Cone Health Cancer Center’s radiation oncologists and medical staff collaborate with urologists and other related health care providers throughout the community to develop treatment plans individualized to each patient’s needs.
Matthew Manning, MD, is a radiation oncologist and leading expert on treatment advancements at the Cone Health Cancer Center. Manning is a 1996 graduate of Medical College of Virginia, and completed his residency in radiation oncology at Medical College of Virginia Hospitals.