How Does Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer Work?

How Does Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer Work?


Richard Bevan-Thomas MD: When a man thinks
of prostate cancer or cancer in general, the first thing routinely that comes to mind is
thinking about chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is where we give drugs that actually cause
the death of cancer cells. In prostate cancer, chemotherapy is used in the later stages of
the disease, so when we talk to men about prostate cancer, chemotherapy is not one of
the first thing that comes up unless we start seeing a more advanced disease. How does chemotherapy
work? Well, chemotherapy is usually a drug, its either IV given in the veins or an oral
drug that will hopefully target the cancer cells or specific cells in terms of how those
cells start to divide and by killing those cells that start to divide then we can minimize
the growth of this disease. The problem with prostate cancer in chemotherapy is that chemotherapy
can slow down the disease, but it still continues to remain a challenge in terms of actually
curing prostate cancer, so chemotherapy is delivering drugs to actually slow down the
growth of the disease. Immunotherapy is where we stimulate your body to actually start producing
it’s own immune system to start killing the cancer cells and many men have heard of this,
it is also referred to as Provenge or immunotherapy. In that immunotherapy again what we do is
we take cells out of the man’s body. We actually sensitize that to prostate cancer cells and
deliver that back to the man’s body. Routinely that is used before chemotherapy, sometimes
its used alongside of it, but the bottom line on that is its used in the later stages of
the disease when we start to see that the prostate cancer is starting to return. The
most important startling thing they think about prostate cancer is that from a local
perspective. When we see that prostate cancer is in the prostate or locally in the pelvis,
we start thinking about local treatments which we talked about earlier, surgery, radiation,
and cryoablation. When that cancer gets outside of the prostate to the lymph nodes and beyond
the lymph nodes into the bones, routinely we start talking about systemic therapy which
is where we give the patient drugs such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy and sometimes
we actually give hormone therapy as well to stop the continued growth of that cancer.
One of the more important parts is that routinely, we will use hormone therapy i.e. androgen
deprivation therapy even before we start using the chemotherapy, so again in the later stages
of disease, we want to actually stop and hopefully decrease the growth of that disease, but it
continues to remain a challenge for these patients. Some prostate cancers are high risk, aggressive,
and more likely to spread. Others are low risk, least likely to have bad outcomes. The
biopsy says cancer, but current diagnostic tools provide limited information about how
aggressive a man’s individual disease is, so most men decide to treat prostate cancer
immediately. Once treated, many men experience serious long-term side effects like incontinence
and sexual impotence. Immediate treatment is not always needed, but right now a man
can’t be sure if his cancer is the kind that is likely to require treatment or if he is
okay to wait for now. What if there was a test that could determine how aggressive prostate
cancer is. Genomic health is developing a new test to do just that. By reviewing the
underlying biology of the tumor and using genes from multiple biologic pathways, the
test can predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer when diagnosed, allowing a man to make
a more informed treatment decision with confidence, taking care of himself with more information
and greater peace of mind.

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One Reply to “How Does Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer Work?”

  1. How Does Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer Work?

    Chemotherapy, while a common treatment for many other types of cancers, is generally used in more advanced cases of prostate cancer. But chemotherapy is usually the first that springs to mind when people think of cancer treatment options.

    Chemotherapy is the use of drugs that work to kill cancer cells. However, for prostate cancer treatment, chemotherapy is generally used to help slow down the disease rather than eradicate it. Another treatment used alongside chemotherapy is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is where cells are taken out of your body, sensitized to cancer cells also from within your body, and re-introduced into your body to fight the cancer cells.

    For more, visit: http://www.prostatecancerlive.com/chemotherapy-for-prostate-cancer/

    #cancer #prostatecancer #chemotherapy #prostatecancertreatment

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