Depending on how advanced prostate cancer is, there are varying options for treatment. If caught early, prostate cancer can often be treated successfully, but once it has spread to the surrounding bone it is often impossible to cure. In that situation treatments focus on reducing symptoms and prolonging life.
Prostate cancer is a slowly developing cancer, and can take up to 15 years to spread from the prostate gland to surrounding bone. Because of this, many men die of other causes without ever knowing they have the cancer. There are many different treatment options, and if diagnosed with prostate cancer you will receive advice from specialists. The final decision for your treatment will always be your own though.
Option 1 – Watchful Waiting: If the cancer is diagnosed very early when it is causing no symptoms, it may be possible to wait to see whether any symptoms do develop. Because of the slow growth of prostate cancer, this is often advised for older men.
Option 2 – Active Waiting: This is similar to option 1 but is recommended for younger men. The cancer will be monitored for signs that it is spreading outside of the prostate. If it is, then treatment will be required. If it doesn’t, it may not be necessary to undergo treatment at all.
Option 3 – Treatment: If the cancer does require treatment there are many more options, including “Radical prostatectomy” which is where the prostate is removed, radiotherapy where cancer cells are killed by radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. All have their own side effects, and you will always be given the choice as to whether you want to receive a certain treatment or not.
Like I`ve said about there are many different possible treatments for prostate cancer, and hormone treatment is one of them. It is often used together with another treatment such as before radiotherapy or after other treatments. This helps increase the chances of success of the other treatments. In some cases however it is used on its own as it can slow the growth of the prostate cancer, while also reducing the symptoms.
How hormone treatment works?
Prostate cancer uses testosterone (a hormone) to grow, so by reducing the amount of testosterone or blocking its effects in the body the cancer may cease or slow down. Usually, testosterone doesn’t cause any problems, but if there are cancer cells in the prostate they will stop growing or shrink when they no longer have access to it.
Possible side effects of prostate cancer hormone treatment: sweating, tiredness, weight gain, loss of sexual desire. This is because of the lack blocking of testosterone, but usually passes once the hormone treatment finishes. Other side effect is mood changes – Some men become depressed while on hormone therapy, and find themselves more emotional than usual. This can put an added strain on not only the man, but on those around them.
Hormone treatment is often used in conjunction with other therapies, and your specialist will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Other treatments can include “Radical prostatectomy” which removes the prostate gland, and radiotherapy which attempts to kill the cancer cells using radiation. Each have their own set of possible side effects.