Antiandrogens For Prostate Cancer
These prostate cancer drugs work by blocking the effect of testosterone in the body. Antiandrogens are sometimes used in addition to orchiectomy or LHRH analogs.This is due to the fact that the other forms of hormone therapy remove about 90% of testosterone circulating in the body. Antiandrogens may help block the remaining 10% of circulating testosterone. Using antiandrogens with another form of hormone therapy is called combined androgen blockade , or total androgen ablation. Antiandrogens may also be used to combat the symptoms of flare . Some doctors prescribe antiandrogens alone rather than with orchiectomy or LHRH analogs.
Available antiandrogens include abiraterone acetate , apalutamide ,Ã biclutamide , darolutamide ,Ã enzalutamide , flutamide , and nilutamide . Patients take antiandrogens as pills. Diarrhea is the primary side effect when antiandrogens are used as part of combination therapy. Less likely side effects include nausea, liver problems, and fatigue. When antiandrogens are used alone they may cause a reduction in sex drive and impotence.
Treatments For Metastatic Castration
Castration-sensitive prostate cancer is cancer that is being controlled by keeping the testosterone level as low as would be expected if the testicles were removed . Metastatic prostate cancer is prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
The goal of treatment is to help you live longer and try to improve your quality of life. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Treatment options for metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer may include a combination of the following:
- hormone therapy
- watchful waiting
What Are Bone Metastases With Prostate Cancer
The ACS describes bone metastases as areas of bone containing cancer cells that have spread from another place in the body. In the case of prostate cancer, the cells have spread beyond the prostate gland. Since the cancer cells originated in the prostate gland, the cancer is referred to as metastatic prostate cancer.
The cancer cells spread to the bones by breaking away from the prostate gland and escaping attack from your immune system as they travel to your bones.
These cancer cells then grow new tumors in your bones. Cancer can spread to any bone in the body, but the spine is most often affected. Other areas cancer cells commonly travel to, according to the ACS, include the pelvis, upper legs and arms, and the ribs.
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What Types Of Testing Should I Expect For Monitoring My Condition
Since metastatic prostate cancer isnt curable, your doctor will most likely set up regular visits to check the cancers location, and to manage any long-term side effects from the cancer or any medication youre taking.
And since treatments for advanced prostate cancer are changing so fast and need to be given in a certain sequence to be the most effective, youll probably have not only a prostate cancer doctor but other specialists taking care of you. Your care team should coordinate closely, say the authors of a major study of such teams published in August 2015 in the journal Annals of Oncology.
Along with regularly testing your prostate-specific antigen levels, your care team may request blood tests that measure such prostate cancer indicators as alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase. Magnetic resonance imaging or PET scans of the spine or other bones can also help identify how your cancer responds to treatment.
If youve had radiation, youre at an increased risk for bladder and colorectal cancer and should get screened regularly for these as well.
The tests youll have and how often youll need them should be customized to you. Your care team will consider your overall health, medications that are safe for you to take, other health conditions you might have, and what stage your cancer was when you were diagnosed.
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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After Prostate Cancer Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Prostate Or To Other Parts Of The Body
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within theprostate or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The results of the tests used to diagnoseprostate cancer are often also used to stage the disease. In prostate cancer, staging tests may not be done unless the patient has symptoms or signs that the cancer has spread, such as bone pain, a high PSA level, or a high Gleason score.
The following tests and procedures also may be used in the staging process:
The Role Of Inflammation
Acute inflammation is a biological response triggered by harmful stimuli such as infection, trauma, and tissue injury to eliminate the source of damage . The tumor microenvironment is unequivocally linked with inflammation, whether the infiltration of immune cells engages with tumor cells causing inflammation or chronic inflammation promotes the malignant transformation of cells and carcinogenesis .
In an experiment performed by Morrissey et al., it was found that IL-6 was highly expressed in prostate cancer bone metastases. PC-3 cells inhibited osteoblast activity and induced osteoblast to produce IL-6 that promoted osteoclastogenesis . In addition, a recent study by Roca et al. observed that macrophage-driven efferocytosis induced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 5 by activating the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells signaling. CXCL5-deficient mice had reduced tumor progression. These findings suggested that the myeloid phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cancer cells accelerated CXCL5-mediated inflammation and tumor growth in bone . In summary, findings from available evidence suggest the alleviation of chronic inflammation as a potential therapeutic approach for prostate cancer bone metastases.
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How Soon Can We Detect This
One of the main advantages of surgery over radiotherapy for prostate cancer is that following prostate removal, the PSA should be very low , which we can of course detect with blood tests. If metastasis occurs, because the metastatic cells originated in the prostate and therefore make PSA, the PSA level in the blood starts to rise. Once it has reached a given threshold additional or salvage treatment will be discussed.
A PSA level of more than 0.2 ng/ml defines biochemical recurrence. At this stage the cancer is still much too small to be seen on scanning. If it can be seen on a scan it is termed clinical recurrence, which generally does not occur until the PSA level is more than 0.5 ng/ml. Symptoms, such as bone pain, dont usually occur until the PSA is more than 20 ng/ml.
Good Prostate Cancer Care
Your MDT will be able to recommend what they feel are the best treatment options, but ultimately the decision is yours.
You should be able to talk with a named specialist nurse about treatment options and possible side effects to help you make a decision.
You should also be told about any clinical trials you may be eligible for.
If you have side effects from treatment, you should be referred to specialist services to help stop or ease these side effects.
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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.
Are Prostate Problems Always A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Not all growths in the prostate are cancerous, and not all prostate problems indicate cancer. Other conditions that cause similar prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia : At some point, almost every man will develop benign prostatic hyperplasia . This condition enlarges the prostate gland but doesnt increase cancer risk. The swollen gland squeezes the urethra and blocks the flow of semen and urine. Medications, and sometimes surgery, can help.
- Prostatitis: Men younger than 50 are more prone to prostatitis, inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. Bacterial infections are often the cause. Treatments include antibiotics or other medications.
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Treatment Choices For Prostate Cancer That Has Spread
If your prostate cancer has spread to other parts of your body, it cannot be cured. But it can be controlled by lowering the level of testosterone in your body with hormone therapy. You can have hormone therapy as
- Tablets you take each day
- Injections each month or every 3 months or 6 months.
- Tablets for a few months, then a break, followed by more tablets, and so on
Another way of reducing testosterone levels is removing the testicles. This is called surgical castration or orchidectomy. It quickly lowers the testosterone levels and can control the cancer very well.
Orchidectomy or hormone therapy can control the cancer for a few years in many men. When the cancer starts to develop again, your doctors may suggest treatment with chemotherapy or steroids. These can control or shrink the cancer for some time. Chemotherapy can work well at controlling advanced prostate cancer in some men.
If your cancer has spread to your bones and is causing you pain, your specialist may suggest radiotherapy to the affected areas of bone. Radiotherapy for bone pain can work very well to strengthen the bone and relieve pain. The damaged bone begins to repair itself after radiotherapy treatment. Bisphosphonate treatment can also reduce bone pain and help to reduce the risk of bone fracture.
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Watchful Waiting Or Active Surveillance
Prostate cancer treatments can have side effects. If youre worried about these risks, you can decide to hold off on these treatments and see if your tumor grows. Waiting is also an option if youâre older, your cancer is growing slowly, or you dont have symptoms that bother you.
Waiting does not mean that you do nothing about your cancer. Your doctor will keep a close eye on the tumor and watch for any signs that itâs getting worse.
Watchful waiting means you and your doctor will look out for symptoms. The doctor may do tests from time to time to make sure the cancer hasnt grown.
Active surveillance means your doctor will do tests, including PSA blood tests and rectal exams, usually about every 3-6 months to check on it. You may also have a biopsy, when a doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your prostate and checks it for cancer.
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Cancer That Is Thought To Still Be In Or Around The Prostate
If the cancer is still thought to be just in the area of the prostate, a second attempt to cure it might be possible.
After radiation therapy: If your first treatment was radiation, treatment options might include cryotherapy or radical prostatectomy, but when these treatments are done after radiation, they carry a higher risk for side effects such as incontinence. Having radiation therapy again is usually not an option because of the increased potential for serious side effects, although in some cases brachytherapy may be an option as a second treatment after external radiation.
Sometimes it might not be clear exactly where the remaining cancer is in the body. If the only sign of cancer recurrence is a rising PSA level , another option for some men might be active surveillance instead of active treatment. Prostate cancer often grows slowly, so even if it does come back, it might not cause problems for many years, at which time further treatment could then be considered.
Factors such as how quickly the PSA is going up and the original Gleason score of the cancer can help predict how soon the cancer might show up in distant parts of the body and cause problems. If the PSA is going up very quickly, some doctors might recommend that you start treatment even before the cancer can be seen on tests or causes symptoms.
Surgically Removing The Prostate Gland
A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate gland. This treatment is an option for curing prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has not spread very far.
Like any operation, this surgery carries some risks, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
In extremely rare cases, problems arising after surgery can be fatal.
It’s possible that prostate cancer can come back again after treatment. Your doctor should be able to explain the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment, based on things like your PSA level and the stage of your cancer.
Studies have shown that radiotherapy after prostate removal surgery may increase the chances of a cure, although research is still being carried out into when it should be used after surgery.
After a radical prostatectomy, you’ll no longer ejaculate during sex. This means you will not be able to have a child through sexual intercourse.
You may want to ask your doctors about storing a sperm sample before the operation so it can be used later for in vitro fertilisation .
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A Biopsy Is Done To Diagnose Prostate Cancer And Find Out The Grade Of The Cancer
A transrectal biopsy is used to diagnose prostate cancer. A transrectal biopsy is the removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the rectum and into the prostate. This procedure may be done using transrectal ultrasound or transrectal MRI to help guide where samples of tissue are taken from. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Sometimes a biopsy is done using a sample of tissue that was removed during a transurethral resection of the prostate to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
If cancer is found, the pathologist will give the cancer a grade. The grade of the cancer describes how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread. The grade of the cancer is called the Gleason score.
To give the cancer a grade, the pathologist checks the prostate tissue samples to see how much the tumor tissue is like the normal prostate tissue and to find the two main cell patterns. The primary pattern describes the most common tissue pattern, and the secondary pattern describes the next most common pattern. Each pattern is given a grade from 3 to 5, with grade 3 looking the most like normal prostate tissue and grade 5 looking the most abnormal. The two grades are then added to get a Gleason score.
Where Can I Find Support
It can be very difficult to deal with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Its natural to wonder if youre doing all you can to fight the cancer and how to handle guilt, intimacy with a partner, and concerns about masculinity. And finding and paying for the best care can, of course, be a challenge.
But emotional and practical support can help you move forward. An important thing to remember is that youre not alone. There are many kinds of help available, and the right cancer resources can make a world of difference.
Ask your doctor for resources you can contact, including social workers and support systems in your community. The Patient Navigator Program of the ACS can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 youll be connected to a patient navigator at a cancer treatment center who can help you with practical and emotional issues.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation has links to in-person and online support groups around the country, and the ACS lists nationwide support programs as well. The PCF also offers resources ranging from help with housing during cancer treatment to finding ways you can look good and feel better while living with cancer.