Page 1 - Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer
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Urological Health

                                Hormone therapy

                                for prostate cancer

        Hormone therapy for prostate cancer involves removing or blocking the male hormone
        to help control the disease.

          nvestigations directed by your urologist indicate       become dormant. Hormone therapy affects prostate
        Ithat you have prostate cancer, an abnormal               cancer cells wherever they are, even those spread
        growth of cells originating in the prostate gland.        outside of the prostate.
        These abnormal cells may spill out of the prostate
        into surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of      Hormone therapy is used most often for men with
        the body, most often into lymph nodes or bones.           advanced prostate cancer. This may include
        After consideration of various factors, your urologist    recurrent prostate cancer after radiation or surgery.
        is recommending hormone therapy to control your           Hormone therapy is not a cure for prostate cancer,
        prostate cancer in an effort to relieve or prevent        but a form of control which, in many cases, may last
        symptoms and maximize life expectancy.                    for years. In time, the cancer cells may evolve and
                                                                  become capable of growing without androgens
        Hormones are natural chemical messengers produced         (castrate resistant prostate cancer). Your hormone
        by various glands to control body functions. The          therapy may then be adjusted by changing
        testicles produce testosterone which is the major male    medications or other forms of treatment may be
        sex hormone (androgen). The release of testosterone is    recommended.
        controlled by another hormone produced in the brain
        called luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH).      In some cases of early prostate cancer, hormone
        Small amounts of additional androgens are produced        therapy may be used in combination with other
        in the adrenal glands located above each kidney.          forms of potentially curative treatment (adjuvant
                                                                  hormone therapy). Hormone therapy can be given
                                                                  in combination with radiation treatment in some
                                                                  patients in order to increase its effectiveness. A similar
                                                                  approach is used by some urologists prior to surgical
                     brain                 hypothalamus
                                LHRH                              removal of the prostate.
                                                                  Types of hormone therapy

                                                                  Hormonal control of prostate cancer can be
                                                                  accomplished in several ways. Removal of the
               adrenal                                            testicles (orchiectomy), eliminates the source of most
               gland                        LH                    of the male hormones. This minor surgical procedure,
                 androgens                                        usually performed in the hospital on an outpatient
                                                                  basis, involves removal of the testicles through a small
                              prostate                            incision in the scrotal sac. There is usually little pain
                   testosterone                                   post-operatively and the risk of infection, swelling or
                                                   Roula Drossis  usual activities within a few weeks.
              testicles                                           bruising is small. Most men are able to resume their

                                                                  Some men prefer to have hormone production of
                                                                  the testicles suppressed rather than having them
        These androgens affect many body processes                removed. This can be accomplished with a drug
        including hair growth, muscle and bone health and         which specifically blocks the brain’s hormonal
        sexual function. The prostate gland requires male         control of testosterone production by the testicles.
        hormones for normal growth and function. Similarly,       This medication, an LHRH agonist, is administered by
        prostate cancer cell growth is stimulated or fuelled      injection at regular intervals (usually every three to
        by androgens. When androgens are removed or               six months). It is important to receive these injections
        blocked, many of the cancer cells die off while others    according to the schedule recommended by your

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