Patients who want to pursue chemotherapy as a prostate
cancer treatment should know that chemotherapy is usually only used for patients who exhibit these characteristics:
The severe and possibly dangerous side effects associated with the use of chemotherapy outweigh the possible benefits. In more recent cases, however, some doctors have used chemotherapy with positive benefits before their patients reach these stages. Prostate cancer patients who are interested in pursuing chemotherapy should speak with their doctors.
Chemotherapy and Early Prostate
In many cases, prostate cancer grows usually very slowly. The slow growth of prostate cancer cells is uncommon in the world of cancers, and the slow cell division leaves prostate cancer unharmed during the introduction of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy works by targeting cells that grow much more quickly, such as the ones in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and in hair follicles. Patients undergoing chemotherapy for another type of cancer will often lose their hair and experience side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Cells that do not reproduce quickly are able to repair the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy before cell division.
Chemotherapy and Advanced
As a prostate cancer treatment, chemotherapy is used more for those who are in advanced stages of prostate cancer with distant bone metastasis. Once prostate cancer metastasizes to the bones, the cancerous cells divide more quickly and can be very painful. Chemotherapy, especially when used in conjunction with drugs, such as prednisone, is capable of relieving this pain. Chemotherapy is usually the last salvage treatment doctors are willing to consider for their patients.
Chemotherapy, however, can be a useful drug in extending the life and the quality of life for prostate cancer patients. For patients who have long been diagnosed with prostatic
adenocarcinoma, should not look at chemotherapy as their last chance, but another way to slow the growth of prostate cancer. The severe side effects are usually the reason doctors hold off chemotherapy for their patients as long as possible. Other treatments, such as brachytherapy have been proven more effective and less damaging to the healthy tissues of the human body.
Hormone Refractory Prostate
When a primary treatment fails to eliminate prostate cancer, the next step will usually be hormone therapy before chemotherapy. Hormone therapy does not cure prostate cancer; hormones or lack of hormones will not ablate the cancerous cells. Removing the androgen or the body’s ability to use androgen slows the growth of the prostate cells. Eventually, however, patients will develop an anti-androgen resistance and the cells begin to grow again. Sometimes, removing a patient from an anti-androgen and re-flooding the body with testosterone will, for reasons that remain a mystery, slow the growth again. When this form of hormone therapy fails, it is called hormone refractory prostate cancer. Chemotherapy will then be the next step to try and control the growth of the disease. Remember, salvage therapy is used for cases of recurrent prostate cancer, and in many cases, prostate cancer will recur. Once a patient has left the earlier T1 and T2 states of the disease, it is very unlikely that one single therapy care cure them.