Bone Loss From Prostate Cancer Treatment
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, fuels the growth of prostate cancer but it also is crucial to bone health. Treatment of prostate cancer with hormone therapy, also called androgen deprivation therapy , blocks the production of testosterone which stops or slows the growth of the cancer. Without testosterone, bones can become weak and break more easily. When a man is on ADT, recovery from a bone fracture takes longer than for other men. It is especially important for men taking ADT to speak with their doctor about how to plan for and manage the bone loss before a problem arises. Bone strength can also be decreased as a result of radiation and chemotherapy used to treat prostate cancer.
Fortunately there are ways to strengthen and repair your bones including medicines and lifestyle changes.
- Bisphosphonates can prevent the thinning of the bone and help make them stronger
- Oral bisphosphonates include Fosamax and Actonel
- The intravenous bisphosphonate is Zometa
- Strive for a healthy diet and make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D
- When exercising, include weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises
- Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol
What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer And Bone Metastases
When cancer cells spread to the bones, the condition weakens the very frame on which the body rests. The cells interfere with the strength and hardness of the bones structure, interrupting its normal cycle of building up and dissolving.
Theres no cure for advanced prostate cancer, but theres a lot that doctors can do to help with the symptoms that might develop. This includes managing pain. A common misconception is that if theres cancer in the bone, there must be pain, Tagawa says. Thats not true. Cancer can be in the bone without pain. However, if there is pain, he says, it can be controlled with anticancer therapies and pain medication, and good quality of life can be maintained.
In addition to pain, some men with bone metastases develop a condition called hypercalcemia, in which, because of the damage to bones from the cancer cells, too much calcium builds up in the blood. Hypercalcemia can make you feel constipated, thirsty, sleepy, or sluggish, and it can increase the urge to urinate, according to the ACS. Over time, hypercalcemia can cause muscle and joint achiness, as well as weakness in the muscles. In advanced stages, it can cause the kidneys to shut down.
There are treatments for hypercalcemia as well as for other complications from advanced prostate cancer, such as bones that become weak and break or fracture, and for growths in the spine that can press on the spinal cord and damage nerves.
Treating Prostate Cancer That Doesnt Go Away Or Comes Back After Treatment
If your prostate-specific antigen blood level shows that your prostate cancer has not been cured or has come back after the initial treatment, further treatment can often still be helpful. Follow-up treatment will depend on where the cancer is thought to be and what treatment youve already had. Imaging tests such as CT, MRI, or bone scans may be done to get a better idea about where the cancer is.
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What Treatments Are Available
If you have advanced prostate cancer, treatment wont cure your cancer. But it can help keep it under control and manage any symptoms.
If youve just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, you may be offered the following treatments:
Research has found that having radiotherapy together with one of the main treatments listed above can help some men with advanced prostate cancer to live longer. But radiotherapy isnt suitable for all men with advanced prostate cancer.
If you live in Scotland, you may also be offered a type of hormone therapy called abiraterone acetate together with standard hormone therapy. In the rest of the UK, abiraterone is currently only given to men with advanced prostate cancer that has stopped responding to other types of hormone therapy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently deciding whether to make it available for men who have just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
Before you start treatment
Before you start any treatment, make sure you have all the information you need. Its important to think about how you would cope with the possible side effects. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.
It can help to write down any questions you want to ask at your next appointment. It may also help to take someone with you, such as your partner, a family member or friend.
If you have any questions, speak to our Specialist Nurses.
What Happens If My Cancer Starts To Grow Again
Your first treatment may help keep your cancer under control. But over time, the cancer may change and it may start to grow again.
You will usually stay on your first type of hormone therapy, even if its not working so well. This is because it will still help to keep the amount of testosterone in your body low. But there are other treatments that you can have alongside your usual treatment, to help control the cancer and manage any symptoms. Other treatments include:
Which treatments are suitable for me?
Which treatments are suitable for you will depend on many things, including your general health, how your cancer responds to treatment, and which treatments youve already had. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your own situation, or speak to our Specialist Nurses.
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Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis
In the U.S., prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death among men. It is estimated that about 1 out of 8 men will be diagnosed with PCa, and nearly one in 40 will die from it. If left untreated, prostate cancer tumors will grow, become more aggressive, and begin to metastasize to other areas of the body.
When a man is diagnosed with PCa, the doctor determines the extent of the cancer:
- Localized the cancer is confined to the prostate gland and capsule
- Regional the cancer has spread beyond the capsule to nearby tissues, e.g. seminal vesicles, prostate bed, pelvic lymph nodes
- Distant the cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes, bones or other organs, and systemic treatments are used to control but not cure the disease 1
PCa cells have certain molecular factors that give them a preference for spreading to bone. This is called prostate cancer bone metastasis, or bone mets. At this stage, treatment has two goals:
How Will My Cancer Be Monitored
Your doctor will talk to you about how often you should have check-ups. At some hospitals, you may not have many appointments at the hospital itself. Instead, you may talk to your doctor or nurse over the telephone. You might hear this called self-management.
You will have regular PSA tests. This is often a useful way to check how well your treatment is working. Youll also have regular blood tests to see whether your cancer is affecting other parts of your body, such as your liver, kidneys or bones.
You might have more scans to see how your cancer is responding to treatment and whether your cancer is spreading.
Your doctor or nurse will also ask you how youre feeling and if you have any symptoms, such as pain or tiredness. This will help them understand how youre responding to treatment and how to manage any symptoms. Let them know if you have any side effects from your treatment. There are usually ways to manage these.
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Where Does Metastatic Prostate Cancer Spread To
Prostate cancer that has metastasized, or spread, beyond the prostate is known as stage 4 or metastatic prostate cancer. Stage 4 prostate cancer may spread locally, staying within the pelvic region, or it can spread to more distant areas of the body. While this form of cancer can travel to any organ in the body, there are specific areas where it most commonly occurs.
How Does Prostate Cancer Spread
Cancer cells sometimes break away from the original tumor and go to a blood or lymph vessel. Once there, they move through your body. The cells stop in capillaries — tiny blood vessels — at some distant location.
The cells then break through the wall of the blood vessel and attach to whatever tissue they find. They multiply and grow new blood vessels to bring nutrients to the new tumor. Prostate cancer prefers to grow in specific areas, such as lymph nodes or in the ribs, pelvic bones, and spine.
Most breakaway cancer cells form new tumors. Many others don’t survive in the bloodstream. Some die at the site of the new tissue. Others may lie inactive for years or never become active.
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Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatments for metastatic prostate cancer may depend on where in the body the disease has spread. Options include:
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What If You Have Metastatic Hormone
If your doctor tells you that you have this type of metastatic prostate cancer, it means your cancer responds to hormone therapy
Most prostate cancer cells need male sex hormones, including androgens like testosterone, to grow. A type of hormone therapy like androgen deprivation therapy could slow the growth of mHSPC by lowering the level of these hormones.
You could also ask your doctor if youâre eligible for any clinical trials.
Still, some people with mHSPC prefer to avoid or delay getting treatment with an option called active surveillance. Thatâs when your doctor keeps close tabs on your health but doesnât give you treatment unless test results show your cancer is getting worse.
You could ask your doctor if watchful waiting is an option for you.
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Chances Of Developing Metastatic Prostate Cancer
About 50% of men diagnosed with local prostate cancer will get metastatic cancer during their lifetime. Finding cancer early and treating it can lower that rate.
A small percentage of men arent diagnosed with prostate cancer until it has become metastatic. Doctors can find out if its metastatic cancer when they take a small sample of the tissue and study the cells.
Treatment For Advanced Prostate Cancer
Although advanced prostate cancer cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment, sometimes for several years. Treatments can also help relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.
A multidisciplinary team will meet to discuss the best possible treatment for you. This will depend on different factors, like your general health. Your cancer doctor will talk to you about the advantages and disadvantages of these treatments.
The main treatments are:
- Hormonal therapy
Hormonal therapies reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. This may slow the growth of the cancer or stop it growing for a while.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. You may have it with hormonal therapy when you are first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Or, it can be given when hormonal therapy is no longer controlling the cancer.
Radiotherapy is most often used to shrink cancer that has spread to the bones. External beam radiotherapy uses high energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Its given using a large machine. Radioisotope therapy is a type of internal radiotherapy given as an injection.
Surgery to remove the prostate is not suitable for advanced prostate cancer. Surgery may be used to help control symptoms or to help stabilise a bone that is at risk of breaking.
Your doctor or nurse will usually ask you to sign a form giving your permission for them to give you the treatment. They cannot give treatment without your consent.
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Treatments To Help Manage Symptoms
Advanced prostate cancer can cause symptoms, such as bone pain. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have symptoms there are treatments available to help manage them. The treatments above may help to delay or relieve some symptoms. There are also specific treatments to help manage symptoms you may hear these called palliative treatments. They include:
This is the team of health professionals involved in your care. It is likely to include:
- a specialist nurse
- a chemotherapy nurse
- a diagnostic radiographer
- a therapeutic radiographer
- other health professionals, such as a dietitian or physiotherapist.
Your MDT will meet to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. You might not meet all the health professionals straight away.
Your main point of contact might be called your key worker. This is usually your clinical nurse specialist , but might be someone else. The key worker will co-ordinate your care and help you get information and support. You may also have close contact with your GP and the practice nurses at your GP surgery.
Causes Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It is more common over the age 65. Although it can happen at a younger age it is uncommon under 50. People who have a prostate include men, transwomen and people assigned male at birth. If you are a trans woman and have had genital gender affirming surgery as part of your transition, you still have a prostate. Trans men do not have a prostate. It is important to talk to your GP or nurse if you are worried about prostate cancer or have symptoms.
We have more information about the risk factors of prostate cancer.
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Study Searching And Selecting
The flowchart of the study searching and selecting is shown in Fig. . A total of 861 records were screened in the initial searching. After excluding of 158 duplicates, 703 titles /abstracts were assessed for potential eligibility. Then, 35 full-text articles were further screened, remaining 12 eligible studies for qualitative synthesis and 10 eligible studies for quantitative meta-analysis finally.
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What Happens After Treatment
If you’ve been treated, especially if a surgeon removed your prostate, your PSA levels should start to go down. Doctors usually wait several weeks after surgery before checking PSA levels.
A rise in PSA after treatment may suggest the cancer is back or spreading. In that case, your doctor may order the same tests used to diagnose the original cancer, including a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan. The radiotracer Axumin could be used along with a PET scan to help detect and localize any recurrent cancer.
Though very rare, it’s possible to have metastatic prostate cancer without a higher-than-normal PSA level.
Go to all of your follow-up doctor appointments. At these checkups, let your doctor know about any symptoms youâre having, especially ones like bone pain or blood in your pee. You could keep track of your symptoms by writing them down in a journal or diary.
At home, follow some healthy habits to feel your best:
Eat a balanced diet. It can boost your energy and your immune system. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods. Cut back on fattening foods, sugar, and processed foods and meats.
Let your doctor know if youâre having trouble staying at a healthy weight or if youâre losing your appetite.
Get exercise if your doctor OKs it. It can be good for your body and mind. It can also help you stay at a healthy weight, keep up your strength, and help manage medication side effects.
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What Is Metastatic Prostate Cancer
If your prostate cancer spreads to other parts of your body, your doctor may tell you that it’s “metastatic” or that your cancer has “metastasized.”
Most often, prostate cancer spreads to the bones or lymph nodes. It’s also common for it to spread to the liver or lungs. It’s rare for it to move to other organs, such as the brain, but that can happen.
It’s still prostate cancer, even when it spreads. For example, metastatic prostate cancer in a bone in your hip is not bone cancer. It has the same prostate cancer cells the original tumor had.
Metastatic prostate cancer is an advanced form of cancer. There’s no cure, but you take steps to treat and control it. Most men with advanced prostate cancer live a normal life for many years.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Manage symptoms
- Slow the rate your cancer grows
- Shrink the tumor
Some cancers are called “locally advanced.” That means the cancer has spread from the prostate to nearby tissue. It’s not the same as metastatic cancer since it hasn’t spread to other parts of your body. Many locally advanced prostate cancers can be cured.
Managing Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Symptoms can often be improved by treating the cancer, but there are other ways to control symptoms. Tell your doctor or specialist nurse if you have new symptoms or symptoms get worse.
You may see a doctor or nurse who specialises in pain and symptom control. They are sometimes called palliative care specialists.
Some people find complementary therapies such as relaxation, gentle massage, or aromatherapy help you feel better and more in control.
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