Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treatment
If you have metastatic prostate cancer, your treatment will probably involve hormonal therapy, whether in the form of surgery or medicines. These can relieve symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. Unfortunately, hormonal therapy only works for a limited time. Another treatment option is to enter clinical trials and accept new treatments that are being studied, such as cryosurgery.
If your cancer has grown beyond the prostate gland (stage III), it cannot be stopped with local therapies -- although radiation therapy can help to keep the tumor in check, and hormonal therapy may slow its advance.
If your prostate cancer is metastatic (stage IV), it is usually treated with hormonal therapy, which can relieve painful or distressing symptoms and slow the progress of disease.
Another option for treating metastatic prostate cancer is to enter clinical trials and accept new treatments that are being studied.
Prostate cancer hormone therapy combats the disease by cutting off the supply of male hormones (androgens), such as testosterone, that encourage the cancer's growth.
Hormonal therapy targets prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland and is thus beyond the reach of local treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy. Hormonal therapy is also helpful in alleviating the painful and distressing symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. Furthermore, it is being investigated as a way to arrest cancer before it has a chance to metastasize (spread).
Although hormonal therapy cannot cure metastatic prostate cancer, it will usually shrink or halt the advance of disease, often for years.
Prostate cancer hormone therapy can be administered through:
- Surgery to remove the testicles (the main source of testosterone)
Surgery to remove the testicles (orchiectomy or surgical castration) is usually an outpatient procedure. The testicles are removed through a small incision in the scrotum; the scrotum itself is left intact. To help offset the operation's psychological toll, some men opt for reconstructive surgery in which the surgeon replaces the testicles with prostheses shaped like testicles.