Treatments for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

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The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located directly below the bladder. Its function is to produce some of the fluid in semen. As men become older, the prostate may enlarge. Some men develop prostate cancer. Most prostate cancers (about 75%) are slow growing and may not even require treatment. The rest are more aggressive. They grow quickly and spread to other body parts. Metastatic prostate cancer occurs when the cancer enters the lymph nodes or blood stream and travels to other parts of the body, usually the bones. Metastatic prostate cancer cannot be cured, but with current treatments, it can usually be well controlled.

Hormone Treatments for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer requires the male sex hormone testosterone in order to grow and spread. You should find a way to manipulate that specific hormone. There are several ways to manipulate levels of testosterone in the body. Perhaps the most radical treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is the orchiectomy, which involves the removal of one or both testicles. The testicles produce testosterone. When they are removed, the cancer’s supply of testosterone is abruptly stopped.

Another way to reduce the supply of testosterone to metastatic prostate cancer is to use a pituitary suppressor. The pituitary is a small gland in the brain. Among its many other functions, it signals the testicles to produce testosterone. A pituitary suppressor will interfere with these signals, and the production of testosterone will cease. Still another hormone treatment involves injections of female hormones like estrogen.

While hormone therapy does an excellent job of controlling the growth of metastatic prostate cancer, the side effects, which may include erectile dysfunction, decreased interest in sex, the growth of breast tissue, and hot flashes, are deal-breakers for some male patients.

Other Treatments

The most effective treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is unquestionably hormone therapy. Most types of chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs) have not proven themselves to be particularly useful against prostate cancer. Radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors in the bones that are causing pain. This is considered a palliative (comfort-oriented) treatment rather than a curative treatment.

Finally, the cancerous prostate may grow large enough to press against the urinary tract, resulting in problems with urination. Surgery may remove these blockages, but again, this procedure is focused on comfort far more than cure.

Early Detection

Since metastatic prostate cancer requires difficult treatment and can be both painful and life-limiting, it’s important to diagnose prostate cancer before it has a chance to spread. Current tests can diagnose “silent” prostate cancers, those that have not even begun to cause symptoms. Regular screenings for prostate cancer should be a part of every man’s health regimen.

The Two Main Types of Prostate Cancer Drug

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Prostate cancer is one of the diseases that are resistant to drug treatment. Still, researchers in health and oncology are wrecking their brains on synthesizing drugs to treat prostate cancer and prevent it from spreading. Prostate cancer drugs are mostly tried as part of hormone therapy. This approach is based on the relation between testosterone, a type of hormone, and its role in promoting prostate cancer. Drugs used in the treatment of the condition tend to block the amount of testosterone produced or nullify its action. Two important types of prostate cancer drugs have been developed for coping with the prostate cancer problem: pituitary down regulators and anti-androgens.

Pituitary down Regulators

Testosterone is produced by the testes in men. The production of testosterone is triggered by a hormone that is released by the pituitary gland in the brain. Prostate cancer drugs called pituitary down regulators block this triggering hormone and prevent the release of testosterone by the testes. Leuprorelin (available as Prostap) and goserelin acetate (available as Zoladex) are the better known varieties of pituitary down regulators. The patient is given these drugs by injecting under his skin, once every one to three months. At first, symptoms of prostate may appear growing worse and the therapist would prescribe other medication to control this effect.

Anti-Androgens

These prostate cancer drugs are more particularly used to prevent prostate cancer from growing. Anti-androgens are taken as tablets and they stop the testosterone from getting to the cancerous cells. Thus they prevent the spread of cancer. Cyproterone acetate, (available as Cyprostat), Flutamide (available as Drogenil), and Bicalutamide (available as Casodex) are the better known examples of anti-andreogens. Due to its role in causing liver problems, Cyprostat is not recommended for long term use. Flutamide is prescribed for using three times daily. In some causes, it may cause diarrhoea in which case the pateint is advised to consult his physician. Casodex is usually taken once daily. High dose treatment of Casodex are now discouraged in men going through the early stages of prostate cancer i.e. when it has not yet spraed outside the prostate gland. In case of advanced prostate cancer, Casodex is prescribed
in lower doses (50 mg) along with a pituitary down regulator.

Combining the Prostate Cancer Drugs

Usually a patient is put on either anti-andreogens or on pituitary down regulators. The latter are usually thought to be more effective inhibitors of prostate cancer growth. Both drugs can, however, be combined in cases if, symptoms of prostate appear to get worse by the use of one type of these drugs or prostate cancer appears to become resistant to any one type of these drugs.

Chemotherapy – Is It Right For You?

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It is typical that when people think of cancer they often think of chemo; chemotherapy, that is. In actuality, chemotherapy is not always the first therapy choice for all types of cancer. Prostate cancer is one such cancer in which chemotherapy is not the number one choice of doctors. Read below for the typical treatments of prostate cancer, as well as more information on chemotherapy available for prostate cancer patients. The first treatment that a prostate cancer patient will probably undergo is surgery. This first attempt at getting rid of the prostate cancer is usually done while the cancer is in early stages. Another treatment commonly used in treating prostate cancer is radiation therapy. In this therapy, rays of high energy are used to kill cancer cells. Each of these treatments can cause impotence and urinary incontinence.

Cryosurgery and Hormonal Agents

Another, more experimental procedure for treating prostate cancer is cryosurgery in which nitrogen infested probes are set in the prostate thereby freezing the cancerous tissue. The side effects are the same, and it has been found that surgery and radiation are more effective treatments. One type of prostate cancer chemotherapy refers to hormonal agents that travel through a man’s body after androgen has been deprived. These include ketoconazole, glucocorticoids, progestational agents, high-dose anti-androgens and PC-SPECS. The purpose of these agents ranges from suppressing the creation of androgen to improving appetite and reducing tumors.

Standard Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy

The typical idea of prostate cancer chemotherapy rests in chemicals that poisons cell growth and results in cell death upon division. Such drugs include mitozantrone, doxorubicin, vinblastine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, estramustine phosphate and etopisode. These drugs are used mainly to alter the process of cell division or mitosis of cancerous cells.

Problems with Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy

There are problems with using chemotherapy to treat prostate cancer. One such problem is that chemotherapy can kill not only cancerous cells but also non-cancerous cells as well. Typically, prostate cancer chemotherapy is only used when the disease has advanced and has spread throughout the body. Prostate cancer chemotherapy has many side effects that may haunt a patient. These include hair loss, impairment of the immune system, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is wise to talk with your doctor about many treatment options that will fit into your lifestyle. It is also imperative that you create a support system for yourself. Most often you will find people are more than happy to help you any way they can.

Finding the Best Prostate Cancer Cure

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There are certainly different prostate cancer cures for different people. There are many options nowadays and it depends on the person as to which treatment option should be used. The main thing that any man should remember is that the cancer must be detected early so the treatment can be implemented right away. The reason more people are being cured today and the mortality rate is dropping is because prostate cancer is being detected earlier than ever. The added technology and knowledge of the doctors surrounding the patient certainly helps but no one will be much use if the cancer is not detected quickly enough. That is entirely up to the patient; he must get himself checked because no one will be there to tell him to do it.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

The path to a prostate cancer cure is different for many people. It is unknown what kind of treatment one will need until screening tests and other diagnostic tests have been completed. However, it is good to have the luxury of many options. This influx in options and the ability to choose the right method has led to more people obtaining a prostate cancer cure. One form of treatment is surgery. It is an option that many men choose because it controls the cancer while allowing a man to live as normal as possible. The prospect of surgery can be frightening for anyone, but new techniques have proven that this method is effective in maintaining a prostate cancer cure.

There are also some different kids of therapy available to those who have prostate cancer. These range from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. These different options are used on different cases of prostate cancer. It depends on the severity of the cancer, what stage it is in, and the size of the tumor. There are obviously plenty more things that doctors make decisions on when deciding what form of therapy to use, but those are just a few.

Finding a prostate cancer cure is much easier now than it was 10 or 20 years ago. That does not mean that every person will be cured. However, the main thing that one can do, and this cannot be stressed enough, is to get tested early for the disease. If the cancer is found early, there are more techniques and procedures that can be used to find a cure. New methods of therapy are being developed all the time in hopes of finding a potential cure that heals all forms of the cancer. For now, the best possible thing anyone can do to stop the spread of this cancer is to detect it early and get started on treatment immediately.

Detecting the Early Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

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The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. Located below the bladder, its function is to secrete a thick fluid that makes up part of semen. In young men, it is about the size of a walnut. The prostate typically enlarges as men get older. An enlarged prostate does not, by itself, mean that cancer is present. Given that the prostate rests just under the bladder, it makes sense that most of the early symptoms of prostate cancer have to do with urination. It should be noted, however, that most men have no early symptoms of prostate cancer at all. Men who do experience early symptoms of prostate cancer generally complain of feeling like their urine flow is “blocked.” Some men feel as if urine is retained in their bladder, even after using the bathroom. Others complaints include frequent urination, urinary urgency, and even urine leakage. Very rarely, blood may appear in the urine. Another early symptom of prostate cancer is pain with ejaculation.

Early Symptoms of Prostate Cancer: A Silent Disease

Like so many other cancers that begin in the abdominal area, the early stages of prostate cancer often do not produce any symptoms. Because prostate cancer has so few early symptoms, it is important for men to receive regular screenings for prostate cancer. The screenings usually involve two common tests. First is a digital rectal exam (DRE). The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate for growths, lumps, etc. The second part of the screening involves a blood test to check for prostate specific antigens (PSA). If these tests are abnormal, the doctor may decide to do a prostate biopsy.

Symptoms of Advanced Prostate Cancer

Most prostate cancers are slow-growing and never metastasize (spread) to any other part of the body. Men with these slow cancers often live a normal life span even without treatment. Some types of prostate cancer, however, grow quickly and spread easily. When prostate cancer spreads, it usually goes into the bones. At this point, the man with prostate cancer may begin to experience fatigue and weight loss. Another symptom of advanced prostate cancer is pain in the bones, usually in the hips and back. As the cancer grows and further compromises the bone, fractures become likely. Cancers identified at this late stage cannot be cured, but they can often be controlled with treatments such as hormone therapy.