Understanding Cancer

Prostate cancer

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that helps make and store seminal fluid. Generally prostate cancer will develop from the gland cells.

What to expect before, during, and after radiotherapy treatment:

Explore The Patient Pathway

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst New Zealand men with around 3,000 cases registered each year. Many prostate cancers do not cause any symptoms for many years. Most are slow growing and rarely spread to other parts of the body.

In more detail

Prostate cancers are commonly slow growing, but can cause problems once the cancer grows too big. This will cause the prostate to squeeze the urethra, which it surrounds, making passing urine difficult.

Although it is rare, prostate cancer can metastasise to other parts of the body. Those that do, tend to appear in the lymph nodes, lungs, bones and the liver.

Radiation treatment is used in cases where a low-grade cancer is still confined within the prostate gland. It may also be combined with hormone therapy to treat prostate cancers that have grown into nearby tissues. This can reduce the size of the tumour where a cancer is not completely removed or recurs after surgery. For slow-growing tumours, radiation is often used simply to reduce the size of the cancer and provide relief from symptoms.

Share this page

Ask us a question

Do you have something to ask that isn't answered here? You can either try our FAQs page, or send us your question below.

The Patient Pathway

First Specialist Appointment

At the first specialist appointment you will meet with your specialist radiation oncologist (RO) to discuss the proposed radiotherapy treatment approach and answer any questions and concerns you may have. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.


At the orientation appointment a patient care specialist (nurse or radiation therapist) will explain the procedures in more detail and answer any concerns that you might have about ARO and your treatment. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.


Before starting treatment, you will attend a simulation appointment to determine the optimal body position for receiving treatment and provide a detailed picture of the area to be treated.

First Day of Treatment

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your allocated treatment time so we can greet you and allow you time to get changed for your treatment. Please bring an extra layer of clothing (e.g. cardigan or jacket) should you feel cold while you wait in the treatment reception area. Please report to the ARO reception desk. For free parking please refer to the information below. See location and parking for more information.

During Treatment

Weekly reviews with your radiation oncologist or one of our patient care team will be conducted to monitor any side effects and provide on-going support and advice as required. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate.

Last Week of Treatment

An appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a member of our patient care team to answer any questions and to ensure appropriate care is organised after your last treatment visit. This may include regular monitoring of blood results, appointments for dressings and management of side effects.

After Treatment

Usually 2-6 weeks after your last treatment visit you will meet with your radiation oncologist or the doctor that referred you to ARO. Your GP will also be sent a report about your treatment and will continue to provide for your general health needs. 

You are welcome to contact our patient care team to answer questions or concerns that you may have about your treatment or possible side effects up to 2 weeks following your last treatment visit.  Please phone our nurses on 09 623 6585, email aronurses@aro.co.nz or make an appointment during business hours. 

Should you require support after 2 weeks, please contact the ARO Specialist Centre on phone 09 623 6587 or email specialistcentre@aro.co.nz. For all other health concerns, please contact your GP, usual healthcare provider or local emergency facility. Click read more to learn more and download information by treatment site e.g. breast, prostate. This includes information on possible side effects and self care advice by treatment site.