Knowledge is Power
Questions & Answers
There are multiple treatment options for prostate cancer. The two most common treatments are surgery and radiation therapy. The degree and choice of your treatment will depend on the stage of prostate cancer. It is important to learn as much as you can about your options, weigh their benefits and risks, and discuss it with others such as various specialists (such as a urologist, oncologists, radiologists) and your doctor. It is recommended to get the opinion of multiple specialists, especially from at least one surgeon and one radiation oncologist.
Surgery (Radical prostatectomy)
Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate and some tissues around it, including the seminal vesicles. It is the type of surgery most commonly used to treat prostate cancer.
There are different types of radical prostatectomy including:
- retropubic radical prostatectomy
- perineal radical prostatectomy
- laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
- robotic radical prostatectomy
- nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy
Radiation therapy uses precise, high-energy rays to damage cancer cells and kill them. It has a similar cure rate as surgery. An advantage of radiation therapy is non-invasive and may have decreased side effects.
There are two main types of radiation therapy:
- External Beam Therapy – having the radiation beam from outside the body
- Brachytherapy – having the radiation beam from inside the body.
- Low dose brachytherapy is usually what is used first if possible, using radioactive seeds inside the prostate to kill the cancer, but only under certain criteria.
- High dose brachytherapy uses small rods that are inserted to the affected area to emit radiation and then removed. High dose brachytherapy is more flexible and able to be offered to more men.
Online Support Tool
The following is an online support tool for those diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer to help them navigate through treatment decisions. This was developed in partnership by TrueNTH Canada, Prostate Cancer Canada (now a part of the Canadian Cancer Society), Queen’s University and the Movember Foundation.
Cost of treatments in Ontario
OHIP will pay for PSA screening tests if:
- A physician or nurse practitioner refers you for testing
- You have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are receiving treatment
- You are being monitored after treatment for prostate cancer
If you do not have a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner, the cost for PSA screening tests will come from your pocket.
OHIP also covers treatment for prostate cancer and post-treatment
Certain drugs may not be covered by OHIP but many private insurance plans do.