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Side Effects Hormone Treatment For Prostate Cancer

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Your Cancer Care Team

Reducing Side Effects of Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer | Prostate Cancer Staging Guide

People with cancer should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team . This is a team of specialists who work together to provide the best care and treatment.

The team often consists of specialist cancer surgeons, oncologists , radiologists, pathologists, radiographers and specialist nurses.

Other members may include physiotherapists, dietitians and occupational therapists. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.

When deciding what treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:

  • the type and size of the cancer
  • what grade it is
  • whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body

When To Consider Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is a treatment option for men with prostate cancer in any of the following situations:

  • when cancer has metastasized beyond the prostate
  • when cancer is confined to the prostate, but hormone therapy is used to boost the effectiveness of radiation therapy or to shrink the size of a tumor before brachytherapy
  • when PSA begins to rise sometime after initial treatment with surgery or radiation therapy, indicating the cancer may have recurred.

Not all doctors agree on when to use hormone therapy, or how to administer it. Indeed, this is an area that requires a physician to exercise as much art as science in clinical practice. You should also be aware that side effects can be daunting, although most men tolerate treatment reasonably well .

What Will I Learn By Reading This

You and your doctor may be talking about using hormone therapy to control your prostate cancer. It is important for you to learn about hormone therapy so that you will know what to expect and how best to take care of yourself before, during, and after treatment. You will learn:

It is important to think about how you will work these things into your everyday life if you and your doctor decide that hormone therapy is the best way for you to control your prostate cancer..

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Treating Prostate Cancer With Combined Hormonal

Androgens, the family of male sex hormones that includes testosterone, function as a fuel for growth in normal development. However, in some men they can also drive the progression of prostate cancer. Hormonal therapy treats prostate cancer by dramatically reducing levels of testosterone and other androgens.

Hormonal therapy is sometimes given in conjunction with external beam radiation to boost the effectiveness of treatment. Hormonal therapy may also be used to shrink the size of large prostate glands before brachytherapy takes place, to enable proper placement of the radioactive seeds.

Combination hormonal/radiation therapy is now a standard option for men with cancer that has extended beyond the prostate or whose cancer is considered high-risk based on other clinical findings, with studies showing that it reduces the risk of dying from prostate cancer and other causes more than with either treatment given alone..

Combination therapy can also be considered for men with localized prostate cancer in the intermediate-risk category. Whether men with low-risk prostate cancer would benefit from a hormonal therapyradiation combination is uncertain.

Image: sturti/Getty Images

Hormone Therapy With Radiotherapy

PSA Test for Prostate Cancer

You have this if:

  • your cancer hasnt spread to other parts of the body but is at a high risk of coming back, eg the cancer has grown through the covering of your prostate
  • you have a very high prostatic specific antigen level
  • you have a high Gleason score

You might have hormone therapy before, during and after radiotherapy. Doctors usually recommend that you have the treatment for between 3 months and 3 years. How long depends on the risk of your cancer coming back and how many side effects you get.

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How Spaceoar Hydrogel Fits Into The Treatment Options

SpaceOAR Hydrogel, a minimally invasive pre-treatment option for men undergoing prostate cancer radiation therapy, is an absorbable gel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and rectum, designed to reduce the radiation dose delivered to the rectum during prostate cancer radiation therapy. The reduction in radiation exposure lowers a patients chance of developing late rectal complications, helping them maintain their quality of life.4

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is made up of two liquids that are mostly water and PEG, a material that is commonly used in other medical implants in the eye, brain and spine. SpaceOAR Hydrogel is biocompatible, biodegradable and naturally excreted through urine in 6 months.

*Other treatment options include chemotherapy, vaccine treatment, cryotherapy and hormone therapy.

How Long Do You Take Hormonal Therapy For

For early prostate cancer this depends on the prostate cancer risk group. If the cancer is:

  • intermediate-risk you may have hormonal therapy for a few months after radiotherapy
  • high-risk you may be advised to have hormonal therapy for up to 2 to 3 years after radiotherapy.

For locally advanced prostate cancer you usually have hormonal therapy for 2 to 3 years after radiotherapy.

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Table : Boosting The Effectiveness Of Radiation Therapy

A randomized controlled study involving 206 men with early-stage prostate cancer evaluated whether adding six months of hormone therapy to external-beam radiation treatment would boost both overall survival and disease-free survival . The results are given below. The same research group found, in an earlier study, that the addition of hormone therapy was of most benefit to men who were considered at moderate or high risk, based on their clinical profile.

Five-year follow-up 82% Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004 292:8217. PMID: 15315996.

Combined with radiation therapy. A number of studies have shown that men with early-stage prostate cancer are more likely to be cured when hormone therapy is given in conjunction with radiation therapy . Even when the disease is regionally advanced, meaning that it has progressed to tissues immediately surrounding the prostate gland, neoadjuvant hormone therapy reduces risk of progression and relapse .

Systemic Therapy For Metastatic Disease

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer

The most common use of hormone therapy today is to treat men whose prostate cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. If prostate cancer cells escape the prostate, they migrate first to surrounding structures, such as the seminal vesicles and lymph nodes, and later to the bones or, rarely, to other soft tissues.

Hormone therapy is recommended as a palliative treatment, to relieve symptoms such as bone pain. And while hormone therapy is not a cure, in that it cant eliminate prostate cancer completely, it often extends life for many years. By reducing testosterone levels, hormone therapy can shrink a prostate tumor and its metastases and slow further progression of the cancer for so long that sometimes a man with this disease dies of something other than prostate cancer.

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Are There Side Effects With Hormone Therapy

Yes, there are side effects or unwanted changes in your body caused by hormone therapy. Side effects are different from person to person, and may be different from one treatment to the next. Some people have no or very mild side effects. The good news is that there are ways to deal with most of the side effects. The side effects that you have depend on:

The side effects you have from hormone therapy may be acute or chronic. Acute side effects are sometimes called “early side effects.” These types of side effects happen soon after the treatment begins and usually go away after you finish your hormone therapy. Other side effects are called chronic side effects or “late side effects.” These side effects may happen several months after you start hormone therapy.

In order to reduce your chance of having side effects, your doctor may give you intermittent hormone therapy. If you are on intermittent hormone therapy, your doctor and health care team will carefully watch your PSA level. As it begins to go up, you are given hormone therapy medicine to lower your PSA. Another way for you to get intermittent hormone therapy is to take a medicine for a set period of time and then stop for a set period of time. For example, you may take a medicine for six months, stop for six months, and then start again for six months.

Risk Of Other Health Problems

Evidence suggests that having hormone therapy might increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. There is also some research that suggests having hormone therapy can increase your risk of getting blood clots and anaemia. But more research is needed to help us understand the links between these conditions.

Research shows that hormone therapy can cause:

  • an increase in weight, particularly around the waist
  • an increase in cholesterol levels
  • changes in insulin.

Talk to your hospital doctor and GP about how often you should have general health checks. You may be weighed and have your blood pressure checked regularly. You may also have blood tests to check for diabetes and to measure your cholesterol levels. Your GP may suggest you have these checks about every six months. Or you can ask for them yourself at your GP surgery.

If you already have heart problems or diabetes, talk to your doctor before you start hormone therapy. They will work with you to manage these conditions.

While the risk of getting these conditions may be worrying, its important to remember that hormone therapy helps men to live longer by controlling the cancer.

What can help?

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. This includes:

  • eating a healthy diet

Read more about diet and physical activity.

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Managing the sideeffects of hormone therapy 14 Loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction 15 Hot flushes 20 Bone thinning 24 Breast swelling and tenderness 26 … For men with prostatecancer, hormone therapy can be used to control the balance of the male hormone testosterone. Mar 15, 2021 · The standard treatmentfor prostate cancer that has come back after prostatectomy is radiation therapy, either alone or with the addition of hormonetherapy. Because hormonetherapy can cause distressing sideeffectsincluding hot flashes, loss of energy, and loss of sexual desirethe treatment is typically reserved for patients with …. Hormonetherapyfor prostatecancer can cause weight gain. You may notice that body fat starts to increase in certain areas, particularly around the breast. This may give your body a more feminine look that can be upsetting for some men. Discuss any changes in your body shape with your doctor or nursing team, particularly if they are worrying ….

Maximum Treatment Minimum Side Effects

Coping with Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment

California Protons, located in San Diego, is the only center in the state using clinically proven, revolutionary technology to deliver proton therapy radiation with unmatched precision and the utmost care. Its one of the safest and most effective prostate cancer treatments in the world, which can result in high cure rates, reduced side effects and improved outcomes.

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Orchiectomy Surgical Removal Of The Testicles

Once a common treatment, orchiectomy is rarely used now, thanks to the development of advanced ADT drugs. The procedure removes the testicles the source of most testosterone production. The scrotal sac is left intact, and patients can have testicular prostheses implanted for cosmetic purposes. Orchiectomy is effective in drastically reducing levels of testosterone, but it has several downsides. Removal of the testicles is permanent and irreversible. Loss of the testicles makes it challenging to have intermittent hormone therapy, an advantageous treatment. And there is a psychological effect: Many patients feel distress related to the idea of lost masculinity if they undergo this procedure.

What Are Male Sex Hormones

Hormones are substances that are made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs.

Androgens are a class of hormones that control the development and maintenance of male characteristics. The most abundant androgens in men are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone .

Androgens are required for normal growth and function of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that helps make . Androgens are also necessary for prostate cancers to grow. Androgens promote the growth of both normal and cancerous prostate cells by binding to and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells . Once activated, the androgen receptor stimulates the expression of specific genes that cause prostate cells to grow .

Almost all testosterone is produced in the testicles a small amount is produced by the adrenal glands. Although prostate cells do not normally make testosterone, some prostate cancer cells acquire the ability to do so .

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Evidence For Combining Hormone Therapy And Radiation Treatment

Bolla M, Collette L, Blank L, et al. Long-Term Results with Immediate Androgen Suppression and External Irradiation in Patients with Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer : A Phase III Randomised Trial. Lancet 2002 360:1036. PMID: 12126818.

Bolla M, Gonzalez D, Warde P, et al. Improved Survival in Patients with Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer Treated with Radiotherapy and Goserelin. New England Journal of Medicine 1997 337:295300. PMID: 9233866.

DAmico AV, Schultz D, Loffredo M, et al. Biochemical Outcome Following External Beam Radiation Therapy With or Without Androgen Suppression Therapy for Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer. Journal of the American Medical Association 2000 284:12803. PMID: 10979115.

DAmico AV, Manola J, Loffredo M, et al. Six-Month Androgen Suppression Plus Radiation Therapy Versus Radiation Therapy Alone for Patients with Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 2004 292:8217. PMID: 15315996.

Denham JW, Steigler A, Lamb DS, et al. Short-Term Androgen Deprivation and Radiotherapy for Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer: Results from the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group 96.01 Randomised Controlled Trial. Lancet Oncology 2005 6:84150. PMID: 16257791.

Nesslinger NJ, Sahota RA, Stone B, et al. Standard Treatments Induce Antigen-Specific Immune Responses in Prostate Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 2007 13:1493502. PMID: 17332294.

Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy

Prostate Cancer Hormone Side Effects

Testosterone is the primary male hormone, and plays an important role in establishing and maintaining typical male characteristics, such as body hair growth, muscle mass, sexual desire, and erectile function, and contributes to a host of other normal physiologic processes in the body. The primary systemic treatment for prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy , lowers testosterone and causes side effects related to reversing all of the normal functions of testosterone.

Although most men may experience only a few of these symptoms, the list of potential effects of testosterone loss is long: hot flashes, decreased sexual desire, loss of bone density and increased fracture risk , erectile dysfunction, fatigue, increased risk of diabetes and heart attacks, weight gain, decreased muscle mass, anemia, and memory loss. Bad cholesterol levels rise, particularly LDL and total cholesterol, and muscle tends to get replaced by fat, especially around the abdomen.

Current research indicates a weak link between prolonged ADT and increased risk of dementia in a subsequent study, no increased risk was shown between ADT and Alzheimers. While substitute therapies for ADT are an active area of research for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, ADT is currently a part of the standard of care. While its important to be aware of the possible side effects, it should not affect your decision to receive life-extending care.

Side Effects of 2nd-Generation Hormone Therapy

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What Is Hormone Therapy

Hormones occur naturally in your body. They control the growth and activity of normal cells. Testosterone is a male hormone mainly made by the testicles.

Prostate cancer usually depends on testosterone to grow. Hormone therapy blocks or lowers the amount of testosterone in the body.

Hormone therapy on its own doesnt cure prostate cancer. But it can lower the risk of an early prostate cancer coming back when you have it with other treatments. Or it can shrink an advanced prostate cancer or slow its growth.

Mental And Emotional Health

A cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment may affect how you feel mentally and emotionally. Hormone therapy can cause:

  • A drop in mental sharpness

If you have any of these side effects, your doctor may recommend medication, counseling, or both.

Research shows that hormone therapy for prostate cancer may lead to problems with short-term memory, language, thinking, and concentration. But these problems are usually mild. Researchers are still studying the effect of hormone therapy on the brain.

When you stop taking hormone therapy, emotional and mental side effects usually disappear. But if youâve taken the drugs for many years, they may not fully go away.

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Advising The Patient About Hormonal Therapy

Finally, Mark Moyad, MD, Director of Complementary and Preventive Medicine, University of Michigan, Department of Urology and Oncology, delivered an excellent discussion of the 10 steps he takes in advising patients about initiation of androgen deprivation therapy. Step 1 is to introduce patients to the common and less common side effects of androgen deprivation therapy . Step 2 is to introduce the patient to moderate, practical, and realistic dietary and lifestyle changes that promote general health during the androgen deprivation therapy. Dr. Moyad stated that recommendations for cardiovascular well-being extrapolate well to provide benefit to patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy. Step 3 is to emphasize that when it comes to over-the-counter supplements and other alternative approaches, less is more. He emphasized that some of these agents might have adverse effects on surgery or radiation therapy and that patients should discontinue these agents at least 1 week before definitive treatment. Step 4 is to remind patients that there might be dyslipidemia associated with androgen deprivation therapy patients should be told, know your lipid levels as well as your PSA.

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Drugs That Stop Androgens From Working

Lupron prostate cancer  palliative treatment of advanced cancers

Anti-androgens

For most prostate cancer cells to grow, androgens have to attach to a protein in the prostate cancer cell called an androgen receptor. Anti-androgens are drugs that also connect to these receptors, keeping the androgens from causing tumor growth. Anti-androgens are also sometimes called androgen receptor antagonists.

Drugs of this type include:

They are taken daily as pills.

In the United States, anti-androgens are not often used by themselves:

  • An anti-androgen may be added to treatment if orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist or antagonist is no longer working by itself.
  • An anti-androgen is also sometimes given for a few weeks when an LHRH agonist is first started. This can help prevent a tumor flare.
  • An anti-androgen can also be combined with orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist as first-line hormone therapy. This is called combined androgen blockade . There is still some debate as to whether CAB is more effective in this setting than using orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist alone. If there is a benefit, it appears to be small.
  • In some men, if an anti-androgen is no longer working, simply stopping the anti-androgen can cause the cancer to stop growing for a short time. This is called the anti-androgen withdrawal effect, although it is not clear why it happens.

Newer anti-androgens

Enzalutamide , apalutamide and darolutamide are newer types of anti-androgens. They can sometimes be helpful even when older anti-androgens are not.

These drugs are taken as pills each day.

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