The benefits of prostate cancer
hormone therapy carry side effects. Some side effects
may be caused by the body readjusting to the introduction
of a new medication, so these may go away on their own
in a few days or weeks. Other side effects should be
reported immediately to a doctor.
If a patient experiences a change in heart rhythm and
fainting, they should immediately contact their doctor.
Some of the less common side effects
associated with the use of GnRH
antagonists include fainting, loss of consciousness,
fast or irregular breathing, skin rash and itching,
swelling of the eyes or the eyelids, tightness in the
chest, wheezing or trouble breathing. These side effects
are less common but may require consultation with a
Urinary side effects are more common
in men who are taking LHRH
antagonists. These side effects can include bladder
pain, bloody or cloudy urine, burning or pain while
urinating, a decrease in the frequency of urination
or the volume of urine, frequency and difficulty urinating.
More common side effects associated
with prostate cancer hormone therapy include:
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of
the breast or tenderness and pain in breasts)
- Bloating or swelling of the
face, hands, arms, feet, and legs
- Lower back or side pain
- Flu-like symptoms including
body aches, fever, chills, coughing, nasal congestion
- Tingling of the hands and feet
- Trouble sleeping
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
There are side effects beyond those
listed here that may occur with hormone therapy. Patients
should pay attention to their bodies and note any changes
they may want to report to a doctor. Side effects often
occur with the benefits of prostate cancer hormone therapy.
Side effects associated with hormone therapy may go
away on their own as the body readjusts to the new agents.
Patients who find the severity of side effects interferes
with the enjoyment of everyday life should speak with
their doctors. Prostate cancer hormone therapy is a
valuable tool in halting the growth of the tumor.
Doctors may encourage their patients
to stay with hormone therapy to see if the body adjusts
and the side effects go away, or they may want to change
the medication or the therapy.
Men who undergo prostate cancer
hormone therapy to ablate
their testosterone may notice a change in the way facial
and body hair grows. Men, however, will not turn into
women, nor will they lose secondary sexual characteristics.
Patients who are considering hormone therapy as a prostate
cancer treatment should speak with their doctors about
the advantages and disadvantages that different LHRH
agonist drugs offer.