NONSURGICAL TREATMENTS FOR PROSTATE CANCER: HORMONE THERAPY
Hormone therapy is used mainly for metastatic and recurring prostate cancers that cause bone pain and bladder obstruction. This type of therapy works better if it is started as early as possible after the cancer has reached an advanced stage.
The main objective of this therapy is to lower the level of male hormones.
The spread of prostate cancer is fueled by testosterone, a male hormone produced by the male testicles; therefore, a treatment that deprives the cancer cell of testosterone can slow the growth of prostate cancer. The disadvantages of hormone therapy are that it can cause water retention, breast growth and tenderness, hot flashes, and symptoms such as stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Although hormone therapy will not cause a patient to speak in a high pitch or make him look feminine, it may lower his sexual appetite or impair his ability to have an erection. The treatment for some men works very well and they may go many years with no evidence of cancer growth. Some will have substantial cancer shrinkage and regression, while others may have favorable results for only a short period of time.
This process has advanced little in the past twenty years. Hormone therapy is an effective means in some cases, but it is not a cure.
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