Hormone therapy is often used in combination with radiotherapy and is used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is the use of hormones to stop the production of testosterone which promotes the growth of the cancer cells in the prostate.
Who Is Hormone Therapy Suitable For?
Hormone therapy is suitable as follows:
- Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is often used in combination with radiotherapy.
- Hormone therapy may also be recommended after radiotherapy or surgery to reduce the chances of cancerous cells returning.
- Hormone therapy is also used in patients where the prostate cancer has spread
What Does Hormone Therapy Do For Prostate Cancer?
Hormones control the growth of cells in the prostate. In particular, prostate cancer needs the hormone testosterone to grow. The purpose of hormone therapy for prostate cancer is to block the effects of testosterone, either by stopping its production or by stopping your body being able to use testosterone.
Types Of Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer
There are 3 types of hormone therapy:
Anti-androgen – these are tablets to block the effects or reduce the production of testosterone
LHRH agonists – these are injections to stop the production of testosterone, called luteinising hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists
LHRH antagonists – these are injections to stop the production of testosterone
How Is The Hormone Administered?
Hormone therapy is administered in two different way, depending on the type of therapy:
- Injections – LHRH agonist and antagonist are administered by injection
- Tablets – anti androgen treatment is given this way
How Successful Is Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is a very successful treatment of prostate cancer and nearly every patient responds positively.
Possible Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer
The main side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer are caused by their effects on testosterone. They usually go away when treatment stops. These side effect include:
loss of sex drive
erectile dysfunction (this is more common with LHRH agonists than anti-androgens)