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Prostate Cancer

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If you have prostate cancer, it is important that you receive the highest quality care.

Trust us to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your prostate cancer because we are the region's only federally recognized Comprehensive Cancer Center. Studies show that patient outcomes are better at these special places. In addition, both our cancer care and urologic care are repeatedly ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report.  

All this means you receive truly personalized care, with a team of medical specialists who can help you weigh the benefits of different treatment approaches. 

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

If your symptoms or screening test results suggest you might have prostate cancer, you’ll need a medical test called a biopsy. During a biopsy, a sample of your prostate cells are examined under a microscope.

Your UC San Diego Health team uses an MRI to guide them as they collect cells to examine. This imaging technology produce very detailed images, so your care team can find abnormal cells that might otherwise be missed. 

If cancer is found, our pathologists  — all specially trained in and focused on urologic cancers — will examine cancer cells under the microscope to help evaluate your cancer's aggressiveness. Your doctors will also evaluate the size and location of the tumor and whether it has spread.

If appropriate, specialists at the Center for Personalized Therapy look at the DNA and molecular characteristics of your tumor to further tailor treatment to your unique cancer.  

Prostate Cancer Treatments

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Receive a care plan personalized to your cancer diagnosis, health status and quality of life preferences. In most cases, your plan will include one or a combination of the following approaches. If you have advanced or aggressive prostate cancer, you may be referred to our Prostate Cancer Clinic for more treatment options.

Watchful Waiting / Active Surveillance

Prostate cancer is often slow-growing and unlikely to spread. In this case, your cancer may be closely monitored but not treated. Talk to your doctor about whether watchful waiting, also known as active surveillance, is a good option for you.

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

UC San Diego Health is the only health system in the region to offer this advanced focal therapy for prostate cancer. HIFU precisely destroys cancer cells in the prostate with bursts of high-intensity ultrasound. It is an alternative to treatments that affect the whole prostate. HIFU can reduce the side effects you may experience with other prostate cancer treatments. Your UC San Diego Health urologist has been specially trained in this innovative treatment approach.

Prostate Cancer Surgery

Surgery to treat prostate cancer usually involves removal of the prostate gland and nearby lymph nodes. This is called a prostatectomy. UC San Diego Health surgeons pioneered robotically assisted minimally invasive techniques that can reduce blood loss, reduce pain and speed recovery. Patients often travel from other areas to UC San Diego Health for prostate surgery, because of our expertise in these highly effective surgeries.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells with high-energy beams or particles. There are different types of radiation therapy that doctors may recommend for your prostate cancer, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, low dose rate brachytherapy and proton therapy. Your radiation oncologist will recommend the best approach to precisely target your cancer cells while protecting healthy tissue. Surgery and radiation therapy are often used together to treat prostate cancer.


Localized, low-risk prostate cancer or prostate cancer that has recurred after radiation therapy may be treated by freezing prostate cancer cells. This is called cryotherapy. UC San Diego Health was the first in the region to offer cryotherapy and continues to refine this approach to give men as many treatment options as possible.

Clinical Trials

UC San Diego Health physicians are actively researching ways to improve cancer care. By joining a clinical trial, you may receive early access to the most promising new prostate cancer treatments. Talk to your doctor about whether a clinical trial could be right for you. 

Patient and Family Support Services 

At UC San Diego Health, your care goes beyond treating disease. It also includes supporting you and your loved ones emotionally during your cancer journey. Most of our support services are free.

Related Services for Prostate Cancer Patients

About Prostate Cancer

For more general information about prostate cancer from our Health Library, see: