Treatments for Advanced Stages of Prostate Cancer
There is no definitive cure for this type of cancer. However, advanced prostate cancer treatment can help to slow down the disease and provide some symptomatic relief to the patient. With successful treatment, in some cases the patient’s life may be extended by a few months and in some other cases it may be extended by up to a few years. There are also side effects of the treatments used and every patient may not be in a fit condition to receive a particular one so the operating doctor needs to evaluate whether the benefits of treatment will outweigh the side effects.
The male hormone testosterone may contribute to the advancement of prostate cancer in many patients. Therefore, if the production and activity of this hormone is curtailed, it may slow the spread of cancer. This is considered to be one of the primary treatments for advanced prostate cancer. Many patients experience reduction of symptoms with this therapy, although for a limited period of time. The size of tumor and the PSA levels may also come down. Some of the serious side effects of this treatment may be impotence, loss of sexual desire, osteoporosis and heart related troubles.
Chemotherapy option is available for patients of advanced prostate cancer. This option is usually applied when the patient stops responding to hormonal therapy. One of the key drugs used for chemotherapy in this situation is Taxotere. It is used in combination with a steroid called prednisone. Taxotere helps to prevent cancer cells from splitting and spreading. Side effects of this drug are similar to those experienced with standard chemotherapy treatments. Studies indicate that in some patients this treatment may help to prolong life by several years.
Combination of Radiotherapy and Hormone Therapy
In some cases, the doctor may decide a dual treatment approach by combining hormone therapy with external beam radiotherapy. Direct radiation is used on the prostate tumor, and it may show encouraging results especially in patients with localized prostate cancer. Studies have shown that when this treatment is combined with hormone therapy the results are more effective. The growth of prostate cancer may slow down considerably in some of the patients.
In certain situations, the doctor may decide to perform a radical prostatectomy which involves removal of the complete prostate gland. This advanced prostate cancer treatment is used in specific cases of advanced disease or where the prostate cancer is becoming recurrent. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed during this surgical treatment. In some cases, cryosurgery may be used, particularly if the cancer is locally confined. Cryosurgery involves application of extreme cold to eliminate cancer cells. Sometimes, the operating doctor may also suggest a testicle removal surgery known as orchiectomy. This is done to bring down the testosterone levels surgically.