How is prostate cancer treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and interventional oncologists.
Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the cancer, but also fits you as a patient. Your team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of tumor, the stage of disease, size and location of tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We also work closely with physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists and psychosocial experts to ensure we address any potential side effects of treatment.
If you are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, you may not need treatment right away. In fact, many prostate cancers diagnosed today are unlikely to cause symptoms or spread. Depending on the type of prostate cancer you have, you and your team may decide to hold off on treatment and monitor the disease for progression. This is known as active surveillance.
However, it is important to remember that each man’s disease is different. Miami Cancer Institute physicians will work closely with you to develop a screening schedule and treatment plan that will be effective in killing the cancer, while also reducing the risk of side effects.
If you and your care team decide to treat your prostate cancer, treatment may include:
Radical Prostatectomy – During this procedure, surgeons remove the entire prostate, as well as nearby lymph nodes. In most cases, your team may decide to use minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Robotic Prostatectomy – During this procedure, surgeons remove the entire prostate with the assistance of a surgeon-guided robotic surgical system. This minimally invasive procedure allows precise and careful removal of the prostate with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.
This treatment uses medicine – or several medicines – to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery.
This may include internal or external forms of radiation used to kill cancer cells, such as:
- Brachytherapy. You may receive this treatment in high doses through catheters placed near the prostate. Your care team may also choose to use low-dose-rate brachytherapy, which involves inserting radioactive seeds near the prostate that slowly release radiation, killing the tumor over time.
- Image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT). This treatment involves placing gold markers (fiducial markers) near the prostate and using a CT scan to guide radiation directly at the tumor.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. This treatment uses state-of-the-art imaging combined with high-dose radiation to target tumors within a millimeter of accuracy.
- Proton therapy. Miami Cancer Institute is the first in South Florida to offer this unique treatment with a combination of sophisticated technology that is unmatched in the region. Proton therapy is another form of radiation therapy that uses external beams to deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor, while sparing surrounding tissue. In this treatment, protons are used instead of X-rays.
Our interventional oncologists may use minimally invasive therapies to treat your prostate cancer. These therapies include:
- High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) – This treatment uses sound waves to heat and kill cancer cells. The sound waves are directed at the tumor using an MRI and ultrasound to pinpoint the tumor, preserving the surrounding tissue.
- Cryoablation (also called cryotherapy or cryosurgery) – A needle is inserted near the tumor and gas is sent through the needle into the area around the tumor. The gas freezes the tumor and destroys cancer cells. This procedure can also help with tumor-related pain.
- Irreversible electroporation (IRE) therapy – This procedure, also called the NanoKnife, uses a CT scan to help doctors place needles near the tumor. Once the doctors place the needles, electricity is sent through the needles to kill the tumor. The tumor shows immediate signs of shrinking, and patients typically spend only one night in the hospital.
- Prostate artery embolization – This procedure decreases blood flow to the prostate gland and can be used before surgery to minimize blood loss. It’s also used to control bleeding from prostate cancer and can be performed on patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) to improve symptoms.
Targeted therapies use innovative medicines to kill cancer cells and stop their growth. These powerful drugs target specific markers and characteristics in the cancer cells.
Hormone therapy may also be used to reduce the body’s production of testosterone, which can stimulate prostate cancer cell growth. Sometimes these medicines block testosterone from binding to cancer cells. Hormone therapy may be used in combination with surgery and radiation or independently.
Immunotherapy uses medicines that stimulate an immune response to destroy cancer cells.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center
Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.