Healthy Living

What Medications Are Used for Prostate Cancer?

What Medications Are Used for Prostate Cancer?

Key Takeaways

Prostate cancer treatments can be administered to cure cancer or to manage or alleviate its symptoms. There are several ways of treating prostate cancer and the treatment options depend on various factors such as:

  • The growth rate of the cancer cells
  • Your age
  • How far the cancer has spread
  • The benefits and side effects of the treatment

Some of the treatment methods used include:

Hormone Therapy

This treatment involves the hormone testosterone. Testosterone helps prostate cancer cells to grow and flourish. If the supply of testosterone is stopped, the cancer cells, therefore stop thriving. There are three ways in which this treatment can be administered:

  1. Using medications such as leuprolide, which stops testosterone production in the body.
  2. Use of flutamide, bicalutamide, and nilutamide medications that block the cancer cells from being reached by testosterone.
  3. Orchiectomy that involves the removal of the testicles

These treatments are used when the cancer is advanced and to shrink the tumors to slow down their growth. The treatment can also be used together with radiation therapy in the early stages of prostate cancer to make the treatment successful.

Some of the side effects of this treatment include:

Radiation Therapy

This method uses very high energy such as that of X-rays to kill the cancer cells. The radiation is usually directed to the prostate gland. Radiation therapy can be done in two ways:

  • External beam radiation - It involves being exposed to protons or X-rays from outside the body. The rays are usually aimed at the affected prostate gland. This treatment takes several weeks.
  • Brachytherapythis involves placing radioactive seeds in the prostate gland. The seeds emit radiation in small amounts over a long period of time, which destroys the cancer cells. 

The side effects of this type of treatment include:

Surgery

This involves the removal of the prostate gland and any affected tissues or lymph nodes surrounding it. Different surgical methods can be used in dealing with prostate cancer. You should discuss with your doctor on the various available methods to understand the risks and dangers that accompany each method. This helps in making the best choice on which method to choose. Some of the risks that accompany surgical methods include erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

Alternative Methods for Treating Prostate Cancer

Cryosurgery involves the freezing of the affected parts so as to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy prostate cancer cells. It is usually administered through pills or injections into the veins of your arm. Sometimes, both methods can be used. This method is considered when the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.

Finally, if the cancer proves to be mild, another method, which is the active surveillance can be used. This method requires regular tests and checkups to monitor the growth of the cancer cells. It is mostly used when the growth of the cancer is slow and not showing any symptoms. This method is also risky in such a way that it can give the cancer time to grow and spread causing more damage.

The Bottom Line

Generally, the options for treating prostate cancer are quite a number. Based on the cancer stage, a treatment plan can be chosen based on which is the most suitable one. What is important is always to be well-informed on the different types of medication to make the smartest choice.