Chemotherapy Treatment For Prostrate Cancer

Chemotherapy generally is the treatment of disease by chemicals. These chemicals generally kill cells, either good or bad, but they are mostly specifically targeted toward attacking microorganisms or cancer. In the treatment of prostate cancer, antineoplastic drugs are used, sometimes in combination with a cytotoxic standardized treatment regimen.

Chemotherapy acts by killing cells that divide rapidly, which is a main property to be found in prostate cancer cells. Unfortunately, there are other cells in the body that divide rapidly under normal circumstances, such as the cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles. Because these cells are also attacked by chemo, they show off the most common side effects of chemotherapy during the course of treatment. These are seen as a decreased production of blood cells, a condition known as myelosuppression; an inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, known as mucositis; and alopecia or hair loss.

Prostate cancer chemotherapy is usually employed as a salvage treatment when the mutated cells have spread out of the prostate and are starting to invade the rest of the body.

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Mostly, hormonal treatments are used to slow or reverse the progression of the disease, but some cancers are resistant to the effect of hormone treatments. Also, late stage or advanced prostate malignant cancer with distant metastasis may require chemotherapy in order to extend the life and quality of life in the patient in question.

Chemotherapy is not often a first choice in early stage disease because prostate cancer itself is a slow growing disease. This implies that even though the mutated cells are multiplying uncontrollably, they are doing so at a rate that is not too different than the way normal cells divide. As a result, applying chemo at this stage may cause way too much harm to the rest of the body, which is not advisable in the best interest of the patient.

A merit but also a limitation of chemotherapy is that it cannot be focused on any particular part of the body. As a plus, the drugs invade the entire body through the bloodstream and kill off any cells that divide rapidly; thereby working well for cancer metastasis. As a minus, other cells all over the body that happen to divide about the time that the drug is present in the bloodstream are affected. Usually if the treatment is discontinued, the side effects gradually fade, but it is safer if the patient was able to talk the doctor into prescribing other treatments ? there are after all a lot of them. One certainly should work.

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