Prostate Cancer: Controlling Cancer Symptoms and Spread
Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate can often be treated. Hormone therapy can slow the growth and spread of the cancer. Chemotherapy may help relieve symptoms and control the cancer. Cancer pain can be managed with medications.
Testosterone can cause the cancer to grow. Treatments can include:
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists. These medications reduce the amount of testosterone made by the testicles. LHRH agonists are injected monthly or every 3 to 4 months.
- Antiandrogens. These medications block the body’s ability to use testosterone. They are given by pill.
- Orchiectomy. This surgery removes the testicles, the main source of testosterone.
Risks and Complications of Hormone Therapy
- Hot flashes
- Breast enlargement or tenderness
- Sexual dysfunction
- Osteoporosis (bone loss)
- Loss of energy
Chemotherapy (chemo) uses medications to destroy cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemo may be given by pill or injection. It may be used with or instead of other treatments. It may slow the growth of cancer, and may relieve pain and other symptoms. A medical oncologist manages chemo treatments.
Prostate cancer that has spread may cause pain. This pain can be treated. Pain medications can improve your quality of life. Using them can relieve stress, helping you to better withstand the cancer. Discuss the side effects of these medications, and any other concerns you have, with your doctor.
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