Advanced Prostate Cancer: New Treatment Options

The latest advances in disease management are making it possible for men with advanced stages of prostate cancer to live longer and with less pain.

Offering New Hope for Patients

"Things have changed so dramatically for people with advanced prostate cancer over the past three or four years and the pace of change is so remarkable," says Cy Stein, MD, PhD, professor of Medical Oncology and the chair of the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope in Duarte, California.

He says that only a few years ago, getting a diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland) seemed like a death sentence for many patients. This is no longer true for everyone, thanks to new approaches that are helping to slow down the progression of prostate cancer and, better yet, doing so with fewer side effects.

Leading the Way

If you or someone you love has advanced prostate cancer, Stein says the best place to start is by seeking the support of a medical oncologist and asking him or her to lead your treatment team. This professional can offer valuable insight into the latest medical advances that will likely go beyond what your urologist can provide. Stein also recommends reaching out to your loved ones for support and help with the decision-making process.

Exploring Treatment Options

In addition, he recommends that you stay on top of the growing array of treatment options available for advanced prostate cancers and work with your doctor to try those that best fit your specific situation.

These treatment options include:

  • Hormone therapy or androgen deprivation to target the male hormones in order to stop them from feeding the cancer cells. Several new hormone therapies are now available.
  • Vaccines designed to boost the immune system's response to fight existing illnesses (rather than just preventing new ones).
  • Chemotherapy drugs, which in the newest forms can be more effective in treating prostate cancer than earlier generations, and are easier to tolerate. Additionally, new research is under way to determine whether changing the order of these medications may produce better outcomes for patients.
  • Radioisotope and other Radioactive Medicines that target tumors that have spread to the bone. This approach causes less damage to surrounding tissue and may also reduce related pain.

Following Advances

Many additional advanced treatments for prostate cancer are also in the development stage, offering new hope in the future to patients, especially those who have been living with this disease for years. "Never give up," Stein says, adding that when one treatment stops being effective, the good news is that some of the newer options could be the answer to extend your life well into the future.

Cy Aaron Stein, MD, PhD, reviewed this article.



"Advanced prostate cancer patients may live longer with new drug." Fox News. Accessed online Aug. 22, 2013.

Cy Stein, MD, PhD, City of Hope, Duarte, California. Phone interview Aug. 9, 2013.

"What's New in Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research?" American Cancer Society. Accessed online on Aug. 20, 2013.