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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 doctors have found abnormal cells or suspect you may have prostate cancer, the next step will be to examine a sample of your prostate cells under a microscope. Select medical centers such as UC San Diego Health have the ability to perform MRI-guided prostate biopsies to find cells that might otherwise be missed. If cancer is found, our pathologists — all specially trained in and focused on urologic cancers — will grade and stage your cancer. 

Molecular profiling of the tumor and genetic testing may also be performed to refine your care plan. 

If you have aggressive or advanced prostate cancer, you may be referred to our multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic.

Prostate Cancer Treatments

Your treatment plan is personalized to your cancer diagnosis, health status and quality of life preferences and may include:

  • Watchful Waiting / Active Surveillance

    If your cancer is slow-growing and unlikely to spread, 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.

  • Prostate Cancer Surgery

    Surgery to treat prostate cancer usually involves removal of the prostate gland, 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 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 an approach that can precisely target your cancer cells while protecting healthy tissue. 

  • Cryotherapy

    Cryotherapy is an outpatient procedure that involves freezing prostate cancer cells. It is an option for some men with localized, low-risk prostate cancer or prostate cancer that has recurred after radiation therapy. UC San Diego Health was the first in the region to offer the procedure.
  • Immunotherapy

    Immunotherapy harnesses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Depending on your health and response to treatment, you may be a candidate for an immunotherapy approach, including:

    • Sipuleucel-T, a cellular immunotherapy, often called a cancer vaccine therapy

    Your oncologist will work closely with the precision medicine specialists at our Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy to include genetic and molecular approaches in your care plan, when recommended.

  • Hormone Therapy

    Hormone therapies lower male hormone (androgen) levels in the body or prevent androgens from interacting with cancer cells. If your cancer is aggressive or has spread outside the prostate, your medical oncologist may recommend:

    • Androgen deprivation therapy, also called ADT, which lowers androgen levels in the testicles
    • Anti-androgen therapy, which prevents androgens from interacting with cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy drugs may be used to kill fast-growing cancer cells outside the prostate, or when hormone therapy is not effective. 

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: