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What Is Chemotherapy For Prostate Cancer

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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Head Or Neck

How Does Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy Work? | Prolonged Survival & Improved Cure Rates | PCRI

People who get radiation to the head and neck might have side effects such as:

  • Soreness in the mouth or throat

How to care for your mouth during treatment

If you get radiation therapy to the head or neck, you need to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. Here are some tips that may help you manage mouth problems:

  • Avoid spicy and rough foods, such as raw vegetables, dry crackers, and nuts.
  • Dont eat or drink very hot or very cold foods or beverages.
  • Dont smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol these can make mouth sores worse.
  • Stay away from sugary snacks.
  • Ask your cancer care team to recommend a good mouthwash. The alcohol in some mouthwashes can dry and irritate mouth tissues.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt and soda water every 1 to 2 hours as needed.
  • Sip cool drinks often throughout the day.
  • Eat sugar-free candy or chew gum to help keep your mouth moist.
  • Moisten food with gravies and sauces to make it easier to eat.
  • Ask your cancer care team about medicines to help treat mouth sores and control pain while eating.

If these measures are not enough, ask your cancer care team for advice. Mouth dryness may be a problem even after treatment is over. If so, talk to your team about what you can do.

How to care for your teeth during treatment

Radiation treatment to your head and neck can increase your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you have dry mouth as a result of treatment.

What Have I Learned By Reading This

You learned about:

  • Ways to get chemotherapy, and
  • What to expect when you have chemotherapy.

If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your chemotherapy treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control so that you can get the most from your treatment.

Possible Side Effects Of Chemotherapy

Chemo drugs attack cells that are dividing quickly, which is why they work against cancer cells. But other cells in the body, such as those in the bone marrow , the lining of the mouth and intestines, and the hair follicles, also divide quickly. These cells can also be affected by chemo, which can lead to side effects.

The side effects of chemo depend on the type and dose of drugs given and how long they are taken. Some common side effects can include:

These side effects usually go away once treatment is finished. There are often ways to lessen these side effects. For example, drugs can be given to help prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting.

Along with the risks above, some side effects are seen more often with certain chemo drugs. For example:

  • Docetaxel and cabazitaxel sometimes cause severe allergic reactions. Medicines are given before each treatment to help prevent this. These drugs can also damage nerves , which can cause numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the hands or feet.
  • Mitoxantrone can, very rarely, cause leukemia several years later.
  • Estramustine carries an increased risk of blood clots.

If you notice any side effects while getting chemo report them to your cancer care team so that they can be treated promptly. In some cases, the doses of the chemo drugs may need to be reduced or treatment may need to be delayed or stopped to prevent the effects from getting worse.

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How Often You Receive Chemotherapy

Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely. How often and how long you get chemotherapy depends on

  • your type of cancer and how advanced it is
  • whether chemotherapy is used to
  • cure your cancer
  • the type of chemotherapy you are getting
  • how your body responds to the chemotherapy
  • You may receive chemotherapy in cycles. A cycle is a period of chemotherapy treatment followed by a period of rest. For instance, you might receive chemotherapy every day for 1 week followed by 3 weeks with no chemotherapy. These 4 weeks make up one cycle. The rest period gives your body a chance to recover and build new healthy cells.

    How Much Chemotherapy Costs

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    The cost of chemotherapy depends on

    • the types and doses of chemotherapy used
    • how long and how often chemotherapy is given
    • whether you get chemotherapy at home, in a clinic or office, or during a hospital stay
    • the part of the country where you live

    Talk with your health insurance company about what services it will pay for. Most insurance plans pay for chemotherapy. To learn more, talk with the business office where you go for treatment.

    If you need financial assistance, there are organizations that may be able to help. To find such organizations, go to the National Cancer Institute database Organizations that Offer Support Services and search for “financial assistance.” Or call toll-free 1-800-4-CANCER to ask for information on organizations that may help.

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    Possible Side Effects Of Vaccine Treatment

    Common side effects from the vaccine can include fever, chills, fatigue, back and joint pain, nausea, and headache. These most often start during the cell infusions and last no more than a couple of days. A few men may have more severe symptoms, including problems breathing and high blood pressure, which usually get better after treatment.

    Who Will Be On My Treatment Team

    From the time that you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be cared for by one or more of a team of health professionals, including:

    • your family/whnau doctor who will often be the first person you see
    • a urologist a doctor who specialises in the care of men with prostate cancer, providing medical and surgical care
    • medical oncologists doctors who are responsible for prescribing targeted therapies, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and other aspects of cancer care
    • radiation oncologists doctors who specialise in the use of radiation treatment
    • radiation therapists people who plan and give you your radiationtreatment
    • a cancer nurse coordinator and/or clinical nurse specialist a person who acts as a point of contact for you in different parts of the health service. They support and guide you and your family/whnau to keep you fully informed about your care
    • outpatient nurses nurses who work alongside doctors during their clinics.

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    The Role Of Adjuvant Chemotherapy

    The role of adjuvant chemotherapy after radiation therapy in PCa was recently evaluated in a large Phase III trial, the RTOG 0521 that randomized a total of 563 high-risk PCa patients to either ADT and radiotherapy or ADT and radiotherapy followed by sequential docetaxel and prednisone.86 Androgen suppression was given for 24 months external-beam radiation therapy was given for 8 weeks and docetaxel was given at 75 mg m2 on day 1 for 6 cycles, starting 4 weeks after the completion of radiotherapy along with prednisone 10 mg. The enrolled patients had Gleason scores between 8 and 10, PSA 20 ng ml1 , or T2 stage. At a median follow-up of 5.5 years, 4-year OS was 89% in ADT/radiation arm and 93% with the addition of docetaxel, for an absolute benefit of 4% resulting in a 30% reduction in risk of death favoring adjuvant docetaxel. In addition, there was an absolute 10% reduction in the rate of disease-free survival at 6 years and the risk of biochemical failure was reduced by 20% in the docetaxel-containing arm. As expected, there was more Grade 3 or 4 hematologic toxicity in the chemotherapy arm. This was one of the promising trials that evaluated adjuvant chemotherapy after radiation which was included in a provisionary statement in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines for PCa treatment in men with high-risk disease as a consideration for selected patients who are fit to receive chemotherapy.87

    When Is Chemotherapy Used To Treat Prostate Cancer

    Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy Basics | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

    Chemotherapy is not commonly used for early-stage prostate cancer. However, chemotherapy may be recommended for later-stage cancer that has spread outside the prostate and is not responding well to hormone therapy. Chemo might also be considered along with hormone therapy or following surgery.

    At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive approach to cancer care. In addition to our world-class clinical therapies and individualized treatment plans, we also help our patients with side effect management. To learn more about chemotherapy for prostate cancer, call or complete a new patient registration form online. Referrals are not required.

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    What Can I Expect If I Am Receiving Internal Radiation Treatment For Cancer

    Sessions for internal radiation therapy last longer than external beam radiation treatments, but there are fewer of them. Internal radiation therapy for cancer may be completed in one session or a series of three to five sessions about a week apart.

    During internal radiation therapy, you will be given local anesthetic to numb the area being treated. A catheter or catheters small tubes sometimes called ports or applicators will be placed at the site of the tumor. Radioactive material is then delivered directly to the tumor through the catheters. The radiation therapy comes in many forms, including pellets, seeds, ribbons, wires, needles, capsules, balloons, or tubes. Depending on the type of radioactive material used, it will be left in place for only a couple of minutes and then removed or it may be left in permanently. Radioactive material that is left in permanently gradually wears off over the course of a few weeks until it no longer gives off radiation.

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    What Will I Learn By Reading This

    You and your doctor are talking about chemotherapy as a way to control your prostate cancer. To help you get ready for chemotherapy, it is important for you to learn as much about this kind of treatment as possible. It is also important to learn how to manage the side effects you may have from chemotherapy. You will learn:

    • What chemotherapy is
    • Why you may need chemotherapy
    • How chemotherapy works
    • Ways to get chemotherapy
    • What to expect when you have chemotherapy

    It is important for you to learn how chemotherapy will affect your life during your treatment if you and your doctor decide that chemotherapy is the best way to manage your prostate cancer.

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    Chemotherapy And Prostate Cancer

    The following information is based on the general experiences of many prostate cancer patients. Your experience may be different. If you have any questions about what prostate cancer treatment services are covered by your health insurance, please contact your health care provider or health insurance provider. This education material was made possible by a Grant from the California Department of Justice, Antitrust Law Section, from litigation settlement funds to benefit Californians diagnosed with cancer or their families.

    Types Of Chemotherapy For Prostate Cancer

    Metastatic Prostate cancer Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy drugs for prostate cancer are typically given into a vein as an infusion over a period of several hours. This can be done in a doctors office, chemotherapy clinic, or in a hospital setting. Some drugs are given as a pill.

    Chemotherapy is given in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to give you time to recover from the effects of the drugs.

    Cycles are most often two or three weeks long.

    The length of treatment for advanced prostate cancer is based on how well it is working and what side effects you have.

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    What To Expect Before During And After Chemotherapy Treatment

    You may receive chemotherapy during a hospital stay, at home or as an outpatient at your doctors office, clinic or hospital. Outpatient means you do not stay overnight. Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely.

    How often and how long you get chemotherapy depends on:

    • Your type of cancer and how advanced it is.
    • Whether chemotherapy is used to cure your cancer, control its growth or ease symptoms.
    • The type of chemotherapy you are getting.
    • How your body responds to the chemotherapy.

    You may receive chemotherapy in cycles. A cycle is a period of chemotherapy treatment followed by a period of rest. For instance, you might receive chemotherapy every day for 1 week followed by 3 weeks with no chemotherapy. These 4 weeks make up one cycle. The rest period gives your body a chance to recover and build new healthy cells.

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    Getting Chemotherapy Through An Iv

    If you are getting chemotherapy medicines that are given through an I.V. , you will go to a clinic on the day you are scheduled to have your chemotherapy. If your blood test shows that you can get your chemotherapy, a chemotherapy nurse will start you on an I.V. A thin needle is carefully placed into one of the veins in your arm or in the back of your hand. The needle will be taken out of your arm when your chemotherapy treatment is finished. This needle will be connected to two bags of liquid by a small tube. One bag contains your chemotherapy medicine. The second bag contains a fluid that will be used: 1) to wash all the chemotherapy medicine out of the tubing and into your body and 2) to make sure that you have fluid going into your vein until the nurse removes the needle. This extra fluid will help you feel better during your treatment. The chemotherapy nurse will give the medicine to you slowly through the I.V. Everything will probably go well during your treatment. If you have a problem during your treatment, there will be a nurse nearby who will check on you while you get your chemotherapy. Do not be afraid to tell the nurse if you do not feel good or if your arm starts to hurt at the place where the needle goes into your vein.

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    Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer

    Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan based on the cancers stage and other factors. Detailed descriptions of each type of treatment are provided earlier on this same page. Clinical trials may also be a treatment option for each stage.

    Early-stage prostate cancer

    Early-stage prostate cancer usually grows very slowly and may take years to cause any symptoms or other health problems, if it ever does at all. As a result, active surveillance or watchful waiting may be recommended. Radiation therapy or surgery may also be suggested, as well as treatment in clinical trials. For those with a higher Gleason score, the cancer may be faster growing, so radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy are often recommended. Your doctor will consider your age and general health before recommending a treatment plan.

    ASCO, the American Urological Association, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology recommend that patients with high-risk early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body should receive radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy with hormonal therapy as standard treatment options.

    Locally advanced prostate cancer

    Watchful waiting may be considered for older adults who are not expected to live for a long time and whose cancer is not causing symptoms or for those who have another, more serious illness.

    What Can Affect My Outlook

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    No one can tell you exactly what will happen. How prostate cancer affects you will depend on many things.

    • Your stage Whether your cancer is localised, locally advanced, or advanced.
    • Your Gleason score or grade group The higher your Gleason score, the more aggressive the cancer, and the more likely it is to spread.
    • Your treatment options You may be able to have treatment aimed at getting rid of the cancer. Or you may be able to have treatment to keep the cancer under control. Read more about choosing your treatment.
    • Your health If you have other health problems, you may have fewer treatment options. And you may be more likely to die from another condition, such as heart disease.
    • Your PSA level After youve been diagnosed, PSA tests are a good way of monitoring your prostate cancer and seeing how youre responding to treatment.
    • How successful your treatment is Your treatment may be successful at getting rid of your cancer or keeping it under control. But for some men, treatment may not work as well as expected.

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    Where You Have Chemotherapy

    You usually have treatment into your bloodstream at the cancer day clinic. You might sit in a chair for a few hours so its a good idea to take things in to do. For example, newspapers, books or electronic devices can all help to pass the time. You can usually bring a friend or family member with you.

    You have some types of chemotherapy over several days. You might be able to have some drugs through a small portable pump that you take home.

    For some types of chemotherapy you have to stay in a hospital ward. This could be overnight or for a couple of days.

    Some hospitals may give certain chemotherapy treatments to you at home. Your doctor or nurse can tell you more about this.

    Clare Disney : Hello, my name is Clare and this is a cancer day unit.

    So when you arrive and youve reported into with the receptionist, one of the nurses will call you through when your treatment is ready, sit you down and go through all the treatment with you.

    Morning, Iris. My name is Clare. I am the nurse who is going to be looking after you today. Were going to start by putting a cannula in the back of your hand and giving you some anti sickness medication. And then I am going to come back to you and talk through the chemotherapy with you and the possible side effects you may experience throughout your treatment. Is that okay?

    Each chemotherapy is made up for each individual patient, depending on the type of cancer they have and where it is and depending their height, weight and blood results.

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