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Nonsurgical Options for Prostate Cancer

There are nonsurgical options for prostate cancer.

Hormonal therapy is just as popular as surgery, but maybe dismissed by many urologists as unproven. Many patients whose cancer has spread throughout the body find relief through reducing the amount of male hormone in the bloodstream which is what the cancer "feeds on". Without testosterone, impotency is almost inevitable.

One such drug is the DES (diethistibestrol), a chemical that is similar to estrogen (a female hormone). Although DES brings with it a longer life and lessens the symptoms, it does have side effects. It kills a man's sex drive, and many men report the nearly female effects: breast enlargement, thinning beards and even scrotal shrinkage.

LH-RH Agonists (Leuprolide and Goserelin) can be used in later stages of prostate cancer. This is a synthetic pituitary hormone that regulates the release of testosterone into the bloodstream. After triggering an initial rush of testosterone, it causes a drastic decrease in testosterone which then starves the tumor. The side effects are occasional hot flashes, headaches, or impotence. It is usually administered through injections or implant pellets.

Antiandrogens are hormones that inhibits the action of testosterone on cancer cells. It is also marketed to the brand name Flutamide, and it is frequently used in conjunction with other hormone treatments to lessen the pain of advanced prostate cancer

Immunotherapy is a method used to build up the body's natural defense against diseases, including cancer. Some doctors combine immunotherapy with chemotherapy to help patients through the later stages of prostate cancer. Other sufferers use natural cures and herbs to help their bodies fight the cancer.

Radiation and Hyperthermia

Scientists do know that temperatures of 105F or higher are deadly to cell division and weak cells. Scientists are attempting to put this information to work on prostate cancer by combining it with radiation to kill cancer cells.

When applying heat to the whole body or to the localized area prior to radiation, it seem s to be more effective than either treatment alone

There are Enzyme-inhibiting drugs such as Proscar by blocking production of an enzyme that triggers production of testosterone.

Chemotherapy is usually considered a last resort for many cancer patients. The chemicals directly attack the cancer cells but usually end up killing many healthy cells as well.

These are only a few of the treatments available for prostate cancer patients. Please discuss with your doctor as to what treatment may be the best option for you.

About the Author

Copyright 2005
Fern Kuhn, RN

Prostate Health News