Symptom Control

Advanced prostate cancer can sometimes cause pain, such as when cancer is affecting the bones. This page explains prostate cancer symptom control options which you can discuss further with your medical team.

Symptom control of prostate cancer makes a big difference to quality of life.

If you are being treated for advanced (non localised) prostate cancer, you will be under the care of a palliative care team. You can read more about the care available on the NHS website here. 

If you are experiencing pain, the following treatments may be recommended. Don’t forget that the Orchid nurse helpline is available to support you with practical and emotional support. Do call us if you need to chat things through.


  • External beam radiotherapy can be used to treat specific areas that may be painful. It may be a few weeks after treatment before symptoms ease but it can ease cancer in the bones.  
  • A radioactive substance called strontium 89 can sometimes be injected into the body. The strontium will naturally accumulate in the bone and give off radiation, potentially killing cancer cells.  
  • A new type of radioactive isotope called alpharadin is also being tested in some specialist centres. 
  • A similar, newer type of treatment is called Radium 223 (Xofigo). 


Prostate cancer which has spread to the bones can affect the balance between healthy, new bone tissue being formed and the destruction of old bone. This can cause bone weakness or it can cause bone to grow too fast and cause pain.  

The most common bisphosphonate used in prostate cancer is called zoledronic acid (Zometa®). 

It is given through a drip into a vein for about 15 minutes and can be repeated every 3-4 weeks. It can take up to three months to get the full benefit of treatment.  

You may experience common side effects such as flu-like symptoms, nausea and loss of appetite. Treatment can also sometimes affect your kidney function. You can read more about bisphosphonates here. 

Speak to one of our nurses
0808 802 0010