Prostate Problem Guide
There Is More Treatment For The Condition Of Prostate Cancer Than Just Surgery
When it comes to curing prostate cancer surgery is often the first option that comes to mind, but surgery is far from the only treatment available and one alternative is hormonal therapy.
As long as cancer is confined to the prostate gland then the surgical removal of the prostate gland is often the fastest, easiest and best method of treatment. However, where prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland and, especially, where it has spread to other areas of the body through the lymphatic system, many sufferers find that hormonal therapy is worthy of consideration. By lowering the quantity of the male hormone testosterone in the body, hormonal therapy cuts off this vital supply which prostate cancer needs to feed upon if it is to grow and spread.
One of the drugs frequently used in the hormonal treatment of prostate cancer is DES (diethistibestrol) which has similar properties to the female hormone estrogen. DES can reduce many of the symptoms of prostate cancer and can also prolong life. However, it also has a number of side effects including all but eliminating the male sex drive, reducing body hair, causing the breasts to enlarge and resulting in scrotal shrinkage.
In advanced cases of prostate cancer LH-RH agonists (such as Leuprolide and Goserelin) may also be useful in regulating the release of testosterone into the bloodstream. LH-RH agonists, a synthetic pituitary hormone, create a surge of testosterone which is quickly followed by a dramatic decrease to once again starve the cancer of its essential food. The drugs are usually administered by injection or by the implantation of slow release pellets and the side effects of treatment can include occasional hot flushes, headaches and impotence.
One other drug in frequent use is Flutamide which is an antiandrogen that inhibits the action of testosterone on cancer cells. Flutamide can be used in isolation, however, it is commonly used together with other hormonal drugs for pain relief in cases of advanced prostate cancer.
While both surgery and hormonal therapy are commonly used today, prostate cancer treatment is not limited to these options and other choices include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a range of natural cures.