Hormone therapy

Hormone treatment for Prostate cancer

Men with advanced prostate cancer usually receive hormone therapy. In addition, a man with early-stage prostate cancer may have hormone therapy before, during, and after radiation therapy. Hormone therapy may also be used after surgery.

Hormone therapy stops the male sex hormone, testosterone, from stimulating growth of prostate cancer cells either by removing it from the circulation (LHRH therapy e.g. Zoladex, Decapeptyl, Lupron) or by stopping it from binding to the androgen receptor in prostate cells (AR blockers e.g. Casodex, Xtandi). Some androgen is also made in the adrenal gland and this is blocked by another class of drug (Zytiga).  .

Your urologist or oncologist will help you decide which type of hormone therapy or which combination is best for you. Over 95% of prostate cancers will respond to hormone therapy. The side effects of hormone therapy can be quite profound and essentially create a ‘male menopause’. The most common side effects are hot flushes, and loss of sexual desire and erectile dysfunction as a result. Other possible side effects include breast growth, an increase in body fat around the waist, and an increase in sugar level in your blood, and cognitive decline. Also, hormone therapy can reduce muscle mass and weaken your bones and so a concerted effort to maintain an exercise regime is important. One positive side-effect is the reversal of male-pattern baldness.

Although the side effects of hormone therapy may be upsetting, your health care team can suggest ways to manage them.

Chemotherapy may be used for men with advanced prostate cancer. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs for prostate cancer are usually given directly into a vein (intravenously). You may receive chemotherapy in a clinic, at the oncologists office, or at home. Men rarely need to stay in the hospital during treatment.

The side effects depend mainly on which drugs are given and how much. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cancer cells, but the drugs can also harm normal cells that divide rapidly.

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