Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer: An Overview

Hormone therapy is a type of treatment used to slow the growth of prostate cancer. It works by lowering the levels of testosterone, a hormone that helps prostate cancer cells grow.

Hormone therapy is usually used for men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It can also be used for men with early-stage prostate cancer who are at high risk of the cancer spreading.

There are two main types of hormone therapy:

  • Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT): ADT works by blocking the production of testosterone. This can be done surgically, by removing the testicles, or with medication.
  • Estrogen therapy: Estrogen therapy works by blocking the effects of testosterone. This is usually only used for men who cannot have ADT because of other health conditions.

Hormone therapy can cause a number of side effects, including:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Weight gain
  • Bone loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Mood changes

The side effects of hormone therapy can be serious, but they usually go away after treatment is stopped.

Hormone therapy is a very effective treatment for prostate cancer. It can help to improve the quality of life for men with prostate cancer and can also help to extend their lives.

If you are considering hormone therapy, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment. They can help you to decide if hormone therapy is right for you.

Here are some additional information about hormone therapy for prostate cancer:

  • How does hormone therapy work?

Hormone therapy works by blocking the production or action of testosterone, a hormone that helps prostate cancer cells grow. Testosterone is produced by the testicles, so one way to block its production is to remove the testicles through surgery, a procedure called orchiectomy. Another way to block testosterone production is with medication, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or antagonists. These medications work by signaling the brain to stop producing gonadotropins, which are hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone.

Estrogen therapy also works by blocking the effects of testosterone. Estrogen is a hormone that is produced by the ovaries in women and in small amounts by the adrenal glands in both men and women. Estrogen therapy works by binding to the same receptors on prostate cancer cells as testosterone, which blocks the effects of testosterone.

  • Who is a good candidate for hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy is usually used for men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It can also be used for men with early-stage prostate cancer who are at high risk of the cancer spreading. The decision of whether or not to use hormone therapy is made on a case-by-case basis, and factors such as the stage of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and the patient’s preferences are all taken into account.

  • What are the side effects of hormone therapy?

The side effects of hormone therapy can be serious, but they usually go away after treatment is stopped. The most common side effects of hormone therapy include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Weight gain
  • Bone loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Mood changes

If you are considering hormone therapy, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment. They can help you to decide if hormone therapy is right for you.

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