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Prostate cancer

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Treatment of stage I prostate cancer

The following are treatment options for stage I prostate cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.

Active surveillance

Active surveillance may be offered for stage I prostate cancer in certain situations. It may be offered to men with favourable (low) risk prostate cancer or to older men (over the age of 70) and men with other health problems.


Surgery may be offered for stage I prostate cancer. The type of surgery is a radical prostatectomy.

  • it may be offered to men who are in good health and have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. It is rarely offered to men over the age of 75 years
  • cryosurgery and HIFU may be options offered in some treatment centres
    • Cryosurgery is a surgical procedure that uses extremely cold or freezing temperatures to destroy abnormal cells or tissue
    • High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) uses focussed ultrasound waves to create intense heat, which destroys the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered for stage I prostate cancer. The types of radiation therapy are:

  • external beam radiation therapy
    • External beam radiation therapy may be offered to men instead of radical prostatectomy. It may be preferred in older men (over 70) who would have a higher risk of complications with surgery.
    • It may be delayed 4–6 weeks if the prostate cancer was found during a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
  • brachytherapy
    • This treatment may be offered instead of external beam radiation or surgery.
    • In some centres, it is favoured over external beam radiation in men who meet the criteria of the brachytherapy program:
      • early stage prostate cancer still within the prostate gland (T1c – T2a)
      • no larger than 60 cubic centimetres in volume
      • a Gleason score less than 7 and a PSA level of 10 or less
      • a life expectancy of at least 10 years
      • able to undergo general or spinal anesthesia
      • have not had a prior transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)

Clinical trials

Men with prostate cancer may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.


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