If Radiation Therapy Unsuccessfully Treats The Prostate Cancer, What Salvage Treatments Are Possible?

Matthew Cooney, M.D., University Hospitals

Jan. 01, 2009 -- Question: If radiation therapy unsuccessfully treats the prostate cancer, what salvage treatments are possible, and what are their advantages/disadvantages?

Answer: If you initially decide to have radiation therapy for your prostate cancer, and you and your doctor determine that the prostate cancer is still in your body, you still have two other very good options. The first being something called cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is a freezing of the prostate and it lasts 3-5 years. Thankfully, it's gotten a lot better as far as minimizing side effects related to this therapy. The idea of cryotherapy is small probes are put into the area of the prostate, the area is frozen, and hopefully any remaining cancer cells are killed off.

The other option after radiation therapy is surgical removal of the prostate. This, however, can be quite difficult for your prostate cancer after radiation, because there's been scarring and damage to the tissue around the prostate. This surgery is not commonly done, but it is a possibility if you and your doctor decide that this is a course of action you want to pursue.