Treatment options for localized cancer

If you have had a diagnosis of cancer after a biopsy, there are several treatment options to consider. The information here is particularly relevant if your cancer is still localized to your prostate. If it has spread further, then you may need more additional drug therapy which should be discussed with your urologist.

The most frequent forms of treatment for localized cancer are:


Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the whole prostate gland. A large proportion of men will experience difficulty obtaining an erection (impotence) after they have had surgery. Some will also experience uncontrolled loss of urine (incontinence).


Radiotherapy aims to kill the cancer cells and can be applied externally or inside the prostate.

  • External radiotherapy
    External radiotherapy is applied through the skin. Parts of the bladder and rectum may also be affected and this may cause diarrhoea and loss of blood during and after treatment. About half the patients who have external radiotherapy will experience permanent loss of erection (impotence). Some men will experience incontinence. External radiotherapy is usually carried out in the outpatient clinic with treatment occurring five days a week for seven weeks.
  • Internal radiotherapy
    Internal radiotherapy can result in fewer side effects than external radiotherapy but it cannot be carried out in all cases. Whether this treatment can be undertaken depends on factors such as the size of the prostate, the PSA level and the degree of aggressiveness of the cancer. With this treatment, radiation seeds are implanted into the prostate. Patients will stay in hospital for 1-3 days. After internal radiotherapy some men will experience impotence and difficulty passing urine or stools.

Active Surveillance

Patients who choose to participate in Active Surveillance should be aware that there is a small risk that the cancer may progress undetected and become harder to cure. (more)

Contact Information

Monique Roobol
Risk Calculator Administrator

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