Prostate Cancer Hormonal Treatment

There are basically two different methods of applying hormonal therapy in cancer of the prostate treatment, and they are both done to relatively high degrees of success. Surgery is often employed to remove the glands or organs that produce the hormones upon which prostate cancerous tumor cells depend in order to grow and spread; and drugs or pills can be used conversely to halt the production of these endocrines. This article looks at a number of ways by which this second option is carried out in the light of determining the efficacy of hormonal treatment in prostate cancer.

One such procedure involves the use of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonists. As opposed to LHRH analogs in the previous article, Abarelix is a newer type of drug that actually works like the agonists, but instead appears to reduce testosterone levels a lot more quickly without causing the tumor flare that often results from the use of LHRH agonists. There are men, who have some serious allergic reactions to the drug, but they are fewer than 5% of all cases tried; plus, the medication is only approved for men with serious symptoms from advanced prostate cancer that cannot undergo other forms of hormone therapy. Not only is a prescription needed for this one, but it can only be given in a qualified doctor’ office, where the patient is advised to remain for up to 30 minutes to ensure no allergic reactions.

To aid and improve on this form of hormone treatment, the FDA approved another drug; degarelix in 2008 to treat advanced prostate cancer. Its most common side effects are injection site pain, redness, and swelling, and increased levels of liver enzymes on lab tests.

Another type of hormone treatment for prostate cancer patients is the use of anti-androgens. These block the body’s ability to produce or use any androgens at all. Because even orchiectomy and LHRH analog treatments do not eliminate every last amount of androgens made by the adrenal glands, the anti-androgens actually have some good work to do. Common names in the United States are Eulexin, Casodex, and Nilandron, taken daily as pills. A patient often has to use them as added treatment though, if orchiectomy or LHRH analogs are no longer working, in a process called combined androgen blockade (CAB).

There are sometimes side effects of anti-androgens in patients already being treated by orchiectomy or with LHRH agonists, but they are usually not serious. Diarrhea nausea, liver problems, and tiredness can also occur, but often they can be managed. Anti-androgens however seem to have fewer sexual side effects than any other hormone treatments for prostate cancer – when used alone, they can help at least to maintain libido and potency.

There are other androgen-suppressing drugs like estrogens and ketoconazole that once were the main alternatives to orchiectomy for men with advanced or late stage prostate kind of cancers. Their potential side effects of blood clots, breast enlargements and such have lowered their appeal.

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