Hormone Treatmentand Radiotherapy In Prostate Cancer

This article looks at prostate cancer hormone therapy and even hints on prostate cancer which does not react to hormone treatment. Even if what you specifically want to learn about is chemotherapy for hormonal refractory prostate cancer, this article will surely prove helpful.

First things first, hormones are sometimes used to treat prostate cancer, especially if the patient is unable to undergo surgery or radiation because of other health problems or complications that may be feared. At a certain age, it might become unwise to treat a patient to radiation because some cells in the body could be damaged in that process, and they may not be able to regenerate due to the advancement of age. In certain cases, hormone treatment may also be used for cancers that are recurring after perhaps a period of remission, or for shrinking the cancerous cells before surgery or radiation therapy. The primary objective of hormone therapy is to reduce body levels of male hormones, especially testosterone, that can fuel the growth of cancers.

The prostate glands require male hormones – androgens, which include testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) ? to work properly. Hormonal therapy uses medications or surgery to block prostate cancer cells from getting DHT by targeting the pathways the body uses to produce DHT at any point. There are several forms, such as orchiectomy (castration), and antiandrogen medications.

Back in 1941, one Charles B. Huggins published a study in which he used estrogen to oppose testosterone production in men with metastatic prostate cancer, a kind of chemical castration that won him the ’66 Nobel Prize. Estrogens from plant sources like fermented soybeans and other phytoestrogens have in fact been known to prevent prostate cancer; while selective estrogen receptor modulator drug toremifene is extremely promising, alongside other medications that block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, finasteride and dutasteride.

However there is an important catch: estrogens in men increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and blood clots, and as antiandrogen medications, they are preferred because they don’t generally cause impotence and usually cause less bone and muscle mass losses. However, hormonal therapy for prostate cancer is limited in that it rarely cures the prostate cancer. After repeated exposure, the cancers which initially respond to hormonal therapy tend to become resistant after a couple of years. Nonetheless, it is usually used when the cancer has metastasized from the prostate, as well as for certain men undergoing radiation therapy or surgery to help prevent a relapse of their cancer.

Estrogen in hormonal prostate cancer therapy may seem a good choice, but these days, the doctor would much rather consider some kind of radiation therapy first, especially brachytherapy. As a matter of fact, they’d sooner consider a combination of both forms of radiotherapy before they look at the possibility of treating you by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and unless they are able to find something that specifically directs them to employ only hormonal therapy, chances are that you will go through a combination of several prostate cancer treatments before they are confident in your health status.

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