Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One in four men diagnosed with cancer in men in the UK have prostate cancer. The majority of cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 70. Nearly 700,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually worldwide. The highest incidences of prostate cancer occur in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Western and Eastern Europe. Prostate cancer is least common in East and South East Asia.

Treatment for prostate cancer has dramatically improved over the last three decades. Whereas in the 1970s three in ten prostate cancer patients survived, about seven in ten prostate cancer patients survive today. A common method of treating prostate cancer is through hormonal therapy. Hormone treatment for prostate cancer is most commonly used to reduce testosterone to castrate levels.

Methods of Treatment

Radiologists use a number of different approaches when treating prostate cancer. Treatments for prostate cancer include: active surveillance, prostatectomy, radiotherapy, brachytherapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is most commonly used in conjunction with other forms of treatment.

Patients who are not eligible for surgical removal of the prostate (i.e: prostatectomy) usually receive hormone therapy for prostate cancer instead. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is sometimes implemented in conjunction with surgery or radiotherapy.

How Hormone Therapy Words

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer helps to control prostate cancer by reducing levels of male hormones (androgens) in the body. Thus, hormone therapy is also known as androgen suppression therapy and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are the two major male hormones which hormone therapy for prostate cancer seeks to control. Androgens are produced chiefly in the testicles and stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. By lowering the levels of androgens in a patient, hormone therapy for prostate cancer causes prostate cancer cells to either reduce in size or grow at a decelerated rate.

When to Use Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is applied in a number of situations. When prostate cancer spreads beyond the prostate or one is unable to receive surgery or radiation, hormone therapy is used. Hormone therapy is also applied when cancer returns to the prostate gland following surgery or radiation therapy. Often hormone therapy is the first method of treatment implemented, particularly if the patient is deemed a high risk candidate for cancer recurrence. Finally, hormone therapy may be used to try and shrink the cancer. While hormone treatment for prostate cancer does not cure the disease, it is most effective as a supplementary form of treatment.

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