Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men—with about one in six receiving that diagnosis during his lifetime. More than 217,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, while more than two million American men with the diagnosis remain alive today.

Team-based treatment at UCHealth

At UCHealth locations in metro DenverFort Collins, and Colorado Springs, a caring team of doctors and support professionals from many fields work together to develop the best plan of care for you, and they stay with you from your initial appointment through treatment and aftercare.

You receive doctor-managed care that emphasizes wellness and healing for you as a whole person—our complementary and integrative medicine specialists incorporate options such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and exercise consultation into your treatment. Your expert medical team members may include:

  • Urologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Clinical research coordinators (CRCs)
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs)
  • Nurses or Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Nutritionists
  • Oncology social workers
  • Integrative medicine and complementary care therapists

Precision treatment with da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgery

When you choose UCHealth, you gain access to surgeons skilled in the precision technology of robotic-assisted surgery with the da Vinci® Si system.

This advanced technology enables our highly experienced physicians to perform minimally invasive procedures for prostate cancer using smaller incisions, more detailed images inside the body, and precise control of the instruments. In many cases this means you recover faster and your hospital stay is shorter.

Immunotherapy treatment with Provenge®

Additional advanced treatment options at UCHealth for prostate cancer include Provenge®, a therapy that trains the body’s immune system to attack prostate cancer cells. The treatment involves removing your white blood cells, mixing these cells with a drug designed to target cancer cells, and infusing you with the treated blood.

Provenge is an FDA-approved therapy for men who have advanced prostate cancer that isn’t responding to hormonal therapies. Our University of Colorado Cancer Center participated in the original clinical trial for Provenge, so you can trust our extensive experience to deliver the best care for your specific situation.

Clinical trials

Your medical team may also recommend participation in a clinical trial. UCHealth conducts hundreds of these “trials” of new treatments or drugs. Participation in a clinical trial may provide those who qualify with access to drugs and vaccines years before they are widely available.

How is it done?

Staging and detection tests

Because no two people develop prostate cancer in the same way, we offer a wide array of resources for proper evaluation of your situation—and we use that information to create a personalized plan that fits your specific needs.

Once a cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists need to know where it may have spread. This is the “stage” of the cancer. The lower the number, the less it has spread. Knowing the stage allows your medical team to determine the best possible treatment plan for you.

Any combination of these tests and procedures may be used to find and classify (stage) prostate cancer:

  • Detailed 3-D staging biopsy – Maps each area of cancer to a 3-D model of the tissue to determine the precise size, extent, and location of the cancer
  • Bone scan – Takes pictures of the bones to look for areas of rapid growth that may indicate cancer
  • CT scan (computed tomography) – Uses a special type of X-ray and an injectable contrast dye to create detailed, highly accurate cross- sectional pictures of the prostate
  • ProstaScint scan – Uses a small amount of injectable radioactive material to prepare for images taken four days later that show any cancer cells present
  • Prostate biopsy – Removes a sample of prostate tissue for viewing under a microscope to look for cancer cells
  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) – Uses sound waves to make an image of the prostate

Treatments and therapies

Treatment for prostate cancer varies greatly from person to person. Your medical team may use any combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or immunotherapy to treat or control your cancer.

Surgery

Surgery is often the initial treatment for prostate cancer. Specially trained surgical oncologists remove the prostate and other affected tissues.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs that slow down, damage, or kill cancer cells. It may involve single drugs or combinations of drugs taken intravenously or by mouth. Chemotherapy is often taken in cycles lasting three or four weeks each. Your team may also prescribe drugs to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy’s side effects.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) uses X-rays and other types of medical radiation aimed at specific parts of the body. The radiation kills cancer cells, prevents cancer cells from developing or recurring, and improves many of cancer’s symptoms. For certain cancers, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy and called chemo-radiotherapy.

Anti-Cancer Drugs & Targeted Therapies

Single drugs or combinations of drugs taken through intravenous injections or as prescribed tablets/capsules help fight the cancer itself or the side effects from chemotherapy. Drugs may be taken in repeating patterns (cycles) that usually last three to four weeks.

  • Anti-cancer drugs or other substances that directly interfere with cancer growth and progression at the molecular level may be taken—with few side effects—on their own or combined with standard chemotherapy.
  • Targeted focal therapy (TFT) treats low-grade, early-stage prostate cancer with precisely targeted cryo-probes that kill cancer cells by freezing. The goal is to preserve urinary and erectile function with this minimally invasive procedure that typically lets you return home the same day.

Many new targeted therapies, including vaccines and gene therapies, are currently in development. When combined with radiation, targeted therapies can make surgery easier.

Hormonal Therapy

Because the presence of some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow, hormone therapy as a cancer treatment removes hormones or blocks their action to stop cancer cells from growing. If tests show that cancer cells can find places to attach (receptors), various treatments—drugs, surgery, radiation therapy—can be used to reduce hormone production or stop them from working.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses your own immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory—such as Provenge—are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer.

Locations - Prostate cancer treatment