Hormone Therapy Options for Treatmenting Prostate Cancer

Health & Medical Blog

According to the American Cancer Society, one out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life. The only other type of cancer that is more deadly among men is skin cancer. Fortunately, there are some great treatment options for prostate cancer, including radiation therapy, surgery, and hormone therapy.

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer (Androgen Deprivation Therapy)

Professionals know that the male hormones, called androgens, stimulate cancer cells to grow in the prostate. So, depriving those cells of these hormones can either shrink the cancer cells or, at least, slow down their growth. Not every man with prostate cancer will need to undergo this type of therapy, but there are situations when androgen deprivation therapy is an ideal treatment option.

When Androgen Deprivation Therapy Is an Option:

  • The cancer is too widespread or advanced to be cured by radiation therapy or surgery alone.
  • The patient is unable to undergo surgery or radiation therapy for any reason.
  • Previous surgery or radiation therapy failed to cure the cancer.
  • The oncologist wishes to shrink the tumor prior to beginning radiation therapy.
  • The cancer returns following surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Along with radiation therapy, when the patient is at a high risk of developing the cancer again.

Types of Androgen Deprivation Therapy

  • Orchiectomy, or the removal of the testicles: This is the most effective way to deprive the cancer cells of androgens, but is not ideal for many men. Especially those who are still young and wish to have biological children.
  • Anti-androgen drugs: These drugs bind the androgen receptors in the cells so that the androgen cannot bind with those cells and release hormones into the cells of the prostate.
  • Estrogen: Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone that can block the production of androgens. Because of the many side effects that go along with estrogen, it is not used as widely in the treatment of prostate cancer as it once was.
  • LHRH Analogs: These are drugs that reduce adrogen production by as much as castration does. Many men choose this treatment method because it works well and allows them to keep their testicles. However, the drugs in this class do often shrink the size of the testicles.

Oncologists do not all agree on when and how hormone therapy should be given, but they do all agree that it is an effective treatment method in many cases of prostate cancer. However, this therapy cannot cure cancer on its own. It only works if it is done in addition to, or after, surgery or radiation therapy. Talk to resources such as Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada for more information.


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