Two Major Approaches to Metastatic Prostate Cancer Therapy

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Metastatic Prostate Cancer Therapy

Before going ahead with metastatic prostate cancer therapy, the doctor will evaluate the size of the tumor and how far it has extended to other parts of the body. The patient’s existing physical condition and the kind of treatments already administered will also have to be considered in order to create a proper treatment plan for metastatic prostate cancer. However, it should be remembered that bringing the disease under control is far more difficult when the cancer has become metastatic. The treatment at this stage is largely palliative and not curative. In case the cancer has spread to the bone, radiotherapy is one of the options to destroy the cancerous cells and alleviate the pain suffered by the patient.

Hormonal Therapy

The primary source of the stimulation of prostate cancer is testosterone, which is the male hormone. If the production of testosterone is blocked, the prostate cancer will go into remission. However, in many cases the cancer will mutate and return despite the blockage of testosterone. Hormonal therapy can be administered with the help of medications or surgery. Orchiectomy or surgical removal of testicles is a permanent way to block testosterone. But with medication, the condition of hormonal blockage can be reversed at a later stage.

There are differing opinions in the medical community with regard to the right timing of hormonal therapy. A section of the community believes that the therapy should be started when there is an onset of the metastatic disease. Some other experts are of the opinion that early therapy rather than a delayed metastatic prostate cancer therapy may help to prevent the progression of the disease. But this therapy is not without its side effects, which include impotence, loss of libido, muscular weakness and osteoporosis.

Total Androgen Blockage Therapy

The testicles are responsible for about 95 percent of testosterone in the male body, while the remaining 5 percent is produced by the adrenal glands. Anti-androgen drugs such as Flutamide help to create blockage against the testosterone resulting from adrenal glands. There are again differences of opinion with regard to the efficacy of total androgen blockage approach, which combines hormonal therapy and anti-androgen therapy. Some medical studies have indicated that this total blockage therapy can provide the benefit therapeutic and extended survival advantages to the patient. However, several other studies have not been able to identify any specific benefits of this therapy.

It is important to understand the side effects of total anti-androgen therapy, which include dysfunction of the liver, tender breasts and high GI intolerance. In some cases, the symptoms may initially worsen with anti-androgen therapy. However, within a few days the symptoms start showing improvement and nearly half the patients may experience the benefits of temporary remission of the disease.


(Retrieved on Nov. 22, 2010)