Treatment To Lower Androgen Levels From The Adrenal Glands
LHRH agonists and antagonists can stop the testicles from making androgens, but cells in other parts of the body, such as the adrenal glands, and prostate cancer cells themselves, can still make male hormones, which can fuel cancer growth. Drugs are available that block the formation of androgens made by these cells.
Abiraterone blocks an enzyme called CYP17, which helps stop these cells from making androgens.
Abiraterone can be used in men with advanced prostate cancer that is either:
- High risk
This drug is taken as pills every day. It doesnt stop the testicles from making testosterone, so men who havent had an orchiectomy need to continue treatment with an LHRH agonist or antagonist. Because abiraterone also lowers the level of some other hormones in the body, prednisone needs to be taken during treatment as well to avoid certain side effects.
Ketoconazole , first used for treating fungal infections, also blocks production of androgens made in the adrenal glands, much like abiraterone. It’s most often used to treat men just diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer who have a lot of cancer in the body, as it offers a quick way to lower testosterone levels. It can also be tried if other forms of hormone therapy are no longer working.
Ketoconazole also can block the production of cortisol, an important steroid hormone in the body, so men treated with this drug often need to take a corticosteroid .
What Can I Expect From Oral Or Topical Chemo
The side effects of any form of chemo vary from drug to drug and from person to person. Your cancer care team may not be able to tell you what side effects youll have, but they can tell you what to watch for.
Telling your team about side effects as soon as they happen can help make sure that they dont get too bad. Your doctor may have to change how much you take or give you other drugs to help you feel better. If you arent sure about a side effect and cant reach your doctor, dont take your chemo until you talk to someone on your cancer care team.
Taking chemo at home gives you more freedom without having a lot of treatment visits. You may not be seeing your doctor and nurses very often, but be sure to call them with any questions or concerns you have.
Finasteride May Interact With Other Medications
An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs youre taking.
To find out how finasteride oral tablet might interact with something else youre taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
This drug comes with several warnings.
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What The Studies Showed
Clinical trial results showed the drugs were well-tolerated, with side effects similar to mild chemotherapy. Rucaparib was tested in a single-arm clinical trial , enrolling nearly 400 men with BRCA-positive metastatic prostate cancer who were no longer responding to other treatments. Results showed that tumors shrank in 44% of the enrolled subjects, in some cases for up to two years. Olaparib was tested in a similar population and delayed disease progression by an average of 7.4 months, which was just over two times longer than a type of hormonal therapy used in the control arm of that study.
Both drugs have their shortcomings. As personalized therapies, they work only for men with BRCA-positive prostate cancer, and just half the treated men will benefit. Furthermore, the experience with PARP-inhibitors so far is that tumors become resistant to therapy within six to 12 months. Whether PARP-inhibitors actually lengthen survival for men with metastatic prostate cancer is still being investigated. And many other questions remain about how to use the drugs most effectively to maximize their benefits.
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How Does Hormone Therapy Work Against Prostate Cancer
Early in their development, prostate cancers need androgens to grow. Hormone therapies, which are treatments that decrease androgen levels or block androgen action, can inhibit the growth of such prostate cancers, which are therefore called castration sensitive, androgen dependent, or androgen sensitive.
Most prostate cancers eventually stop responding to hormone therapy and become castration resistant. That is, they continue to grow even when androgen levels in the body are extremely low or undetectable. In the past, these tumors were also called hormone resistant, androgen independent, or hormone refractory however, these terms are rarely used now because the tumors are not truly independent of androgens for their growth. In fact, some newer hormone therapies have become available that can be used to treat tumors that have become castration resistant.
Intermittent Versus Continuous Hormone Therapy
Most prostate cancers treated with hormone therapy become resistant to this treatment over a period of months or years. Some doctors believe that constant androgen suppression might not be needed, so they advise intermittent treatment. The hope is that giving men a break from androgen suppression will also give them a break from side effects like decreased energy, sexual problems, and hot flashes.
In one form of intermittent hormone therapy, treatment is stopped once the PSA drops to a very low level. If the PSA level begins to rise, the drugs are started again. Another form of intermittent therapy uses hormone therapy for fixed periods of time for example, 6 months on followed by 6 months off.
At this time, it isnt clear how this approach compares to continuous hormone therapy. Some studies have found that continuous therapy might help men live longer, but other studies have not found such a difference.
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Active Surveillance And Watchful Waiting
If prostate cancer is in an early stage, is growing slowly, and treating the cancer would cause more problems than the disease itself, a doctor may recommend active surveillance or watchful waiting.
Active surveillance. Prostate cancer treatments may seriously affect a person’s quality of life. These treatments can cause side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, which is when someone is unable to get and maintain an erection, and incontinence, which is when a person cannot control their urine flow or bowel function. In addition, many prostate cancers grow slowly and cause no symptoms or problems. For this reason, many people may consider delaying cancer treatment rather than starting treatment right away. This is called active surveillance. During active surveillance, the cancer is closely monitored for signs that it is worsening. If the cancer is found to be worsening, treatment will begin.
ASCO encourages the following testing schedule for active surveillance:
A PSA test every 3 to 6 months
A DRE at least once every year
Another prostate biopsy within 6 to 12 months, then a biopsy at least every 2 to 5 years
Treatment should begin if the results of the tests done during active surveillance show signs of the cancer becoming more aggressive or spreading, if the cancer causes pain, or if the cancer blocks the urinary tract.
Patient And Family Safety
Sometimes safety measures are needed to protect the people around you from the systemic radiation in your body. This is because the radioactive materials can leave your body through saliva, sweat, blood, and urine, and that makes these fluids radioactive. It’s very important to keep radiation exposure to the people around you as limited as possible.
It’s important to remember that every patient is different, and your safety instructions may be different from other patients or people you know who have received radiation therapy to treat cancer. What you might need to do depends on what exactly is used in the treatment and how much of it is used. Your cancer care team will give you exact instructions so you know what steps to take and how long any precautions need to be followed. You should follow their instructions exactly.
In most cases, the safety precautions must be followed only the first few days after treatment. To learn more, see Radiation Therapy Safety.
It’s very important to be sure you understand what you need to do to protect the people around you. Talk to your cancer care team about your specific situation.
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Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence
A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.
A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. Although there are treatments to help prevent a recurrence, such as hormonal therapy and radiation therapy, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. There are tools your doctor can use, called nomograms, to estimate someone’s risk of recurrence. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
In general, following surgery or radiation therapy, the PSA level in the blood usually drops. If the PSA level starts to rise again, it may be a sign that the cancer has come back. If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer.
When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including where the recurrence is located. The cancer may come back in the prostate , in the tissues or lymph nodes near the prostate , or in another part of the body, such as the bones, lungs, or liver . Sometimes the doctor cannot find a tumor even though the PSA level has increased. This is known as a PSA-only or biochemical recurrence.
In February 2008 Petes Prostate
It turned out that Pete had cancer. When I was first told I had prostate cancer, I didnt hear much else. Just the word cancer was a great shock, Pete said. Some men may find it hard to think of anything else for a while. The news that your cancer has returned after treatment can hit even harder and revive long-buried fears. When I learned nearly five years later my cancer had returned and was now in my bones, I didnt know what to think.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in men. More than 230,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year. Chances are you know someone who has prostate cancer or has been treated for it. More than 2.5 million men in the United States are survivors of prostate cancer. The survival rate is rising. Awareness, screening and better treatments are some of the reasons. If found at an early stage, prostate cancer has a very high chance of cure. Also, many prostate cancers that are found early may not be fast-growing or life threatening.
However, when prostate cancer spreads outside the prostate or reappears after initial treatment, it is known as advanced prostate cancer. Some men are told they have advanced prostate cancer when they are first diagnosed. Other men are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer when their PSA levels rise months or years after surgery or radiation. At first, your doctor may suggest hormone therapy if you have advanced prostate cancer.
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Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will recommend a specific treatment plan for you based on the cancers stage and other factors. Detailed descriptions of each type of treatment are provided earlier on this same page. Clinical trials may also be a treatment option for each stage.
Early-stage prostate cancer
Early-stage prostate cancer usually grows very slowly and may take years to cause any symptoms or other health problems, if it ever does at all. As a result, active surveillance or watchful waiting may be recommended. Radiation therapy or surgery may also be suggested, as well as treatment in clinical trials. For those with a higher Gleason score, the cancer may be faster growing, so radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy are often recommended. Your doctor will consider your age and general health before recommending a treatment plan.
ASCO, the American Urological Association, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology recommend that patients with high-risk early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body should receive radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy with hormonal therapy as standard treatment options.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
Watchful waiting may be considered for older adults who are not expected to live for a long time and whose cancer is not causing symptoms or for those who have another, more serious illness.
Surgically Removing The Prostate Gland
A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate gland. This treatment is an option for curing prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has not spread very far.
Like any operation, this surgery carries some risks.
A recent trial showed possible long-term side effects of radical prostatectomy may include an inability to get an erection and urinary incontinence.
Before having any treatment, 67% of men said they could get erections firm enough for intercourse.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had decreased to 12%. When asked again after 6 years, it had slightly improved to 17%.
For urinary incontinence, 1% of men said they used absorbent pads before having any treatment.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had increased to 46%. After 6 years, this had improved to 17%.
Out of the men who were actively monitored instead, 4% were using absorbent pads at 6 months and 8% after 6 years.
In extremely rare cases, problems arising after surgery can be fatal.
It’s possible that prostate cancer can come back again after treatment. Your doctor should be able to explain the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment, based on things like your PSA level and the stage of your cancer.
After a radical prostatectomy, you’ll no longer ejaculate during sex. This means you will not be able to have a child through sexual intercourse.
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Types Of Hormone Therapy
The table at the right provides an overview of three commonly used types of hormone therapy. These and others are discussed below. While hormone therapy is commonly used, side effects of the treatment are reported as well. They range from erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, weight gain and loss of bone density.
What Is Bicalutamide And How Does It Work
Bicalutamide is an oral medication that is used for treating cancer of the prostate. It belongs to a class of drugs called anti-androgens which includes flutamide and nilutamide . Androgens are hormones that are produced and released by the adrenal glands. They are responsible for supporting tissues that primarily are thought of as male, for example, the male prostate gland. Male traits that also are influenced by androgens include facial and body hair, and small breasts. Anti-androgens prevent the action of androgens by blocking the receptors for androgens on the cells of tissues, for example, the cells of the prostate gland. In addition to normal prostate cells, androgens also have been shown to stimulate the growth of cancer cells within the prostate. Bicalutamide is thought to prevent the growth of prostate cancer by blocking the effects of androgens on the cancer cells. Bicalutamide was approved by the FDA in 1995.
What brand names are available for bicalutamide?
Is bicalutamide available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for bicalutamide?
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Chemo Drugs Used To Treat Prostate Cancer
For prostate cancer, chemo drugs are typically used one at a time. Some of the chemo drugs used to treat prostate cancer include:
In most cases, the first chemo drug given is docetaxel, combined with the steroid drug prednisone. If this does not work , cabazitaxel is often the next chemo drug tried .
Docetaxel and cabazitaxel have been shown to help men live longer, on average, than older chemo drugs. They may slow the cancers growth and also reduce symptoms, resulting in a better quality of life. Still, chemo is very unlikely to cure prostate cancer.
Other chemo drugs being studied for use in prostate cancer include carboplatin, oxaliplatin, and cisplatin.
Warnings For Other Groups
For pregnant women: This drug is not prescribed for use in women, and should never be used during pregnancy.
For women who are breastfeeding: Finasteride should never be used in breastfeeding women. It is not known if finasteride passes through breast milk.
This drug is not prescribed for use in women.
For children: The safety and effectiveness of finasteride in children have not been established. This drug is not prescribed for use in children.
All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:
- your age
- how severe your condition is
- other medical conditions you have
- how you react to the first dose
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