Hormone Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Androgens or male sex hormones can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. Testosterone is the main type of androgen, which is mainly produced by the testicles and some by the adrenal glands. Now, hormone treatment for prostate cancer involves the process of either inhibiting testosterone from being used by body, or by decreasing the body’s production of testosterone. Either way, hormone therapy – as it is called – will be able to block testosterone from getting into the prostate cancer cells.
Inhibiting the body’s use of testosterone would mean taking medications that prevents testosterone in reaching said cancer cells. Anti-androgens as bicalutamide, nilutamide and flutamide are used. These medications are in tablet form, and are usually taken one to three times a day – depending on the brand.
Decreasing the body’s production of testosterone would require the individual to take luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists, which places a chemical blockade that prevents your testicles in receiving signals to produce more testosterone. Medications as goserelin and leuprolide are usually injected once every three months into your body.
The downside though of hormone treatment for prostate cancer is that there are side effects one has to deal with. These are reduced sex drive, impotence, weight gain, breast enlargement and reduction in bone mass to name just a few. These medications for hormone treatment of prostate cancer may also cause fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and liver damage.
At the extreme approach for hormone treatment for prostate cancer is the removal of one’s testicles or what is called castration. This is usually done and may be effective for those in the advanced stages of prostate cancer.
Hormone treatment for prostate cancer may involve both approaches – preventing the use of testosterone in the body, and preventing the body from producing testosterone. And with such, some doctors also employ radiation treatment or at times, surgery – as hormone therapy tends to shrink large tumors, and thus the convenience of taking these out.
One should however give it due thought before going into hormone treatment for prostate cancer. Ask your doctor, and consider taking a second opinion by another expert. Take time to read about this approach and weigh things well.
Remember that it is also shown that just by the hormone treatment for prostate cancer would not kill all of the cancer cells. As years go by, the cancer comes back as it is able to thrive without testosterone. Thus, the ineffectiveness of hormone therapy at this stage.
It is thus best to talk with your doctor on how hormone treatment for prostate cancer will go for your case. Ask how it may work for you, and how it may work against you in the future. In the end, consider what your doctor recommends and go for what is best for your situation.