Hormone Therapy Overview:
A hormone imbalance may be responsible for the development of prostate cancer. Androgens are male sex hormones that control the development and maintenance of male characteristics. Testosterone and DHT are the most common androgens found in men. Androgens are required for normal growth and function of the prostate, but they’re also necessary for prostate cancer to grow.
Hormone Therapy – What to Expect:
Androgens promote the growth of both healthy and cancerous cells. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer works by blocking the production of androgens to help destroy cancerous cells in the prostate. Treatments that lower androgen production include:
- Orchiectomy: Surgical procedure to remove one or both of the testicles, the tissues responsible for the production of androgens.
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists: Blocks the LHRH receptor in the pituitary gland to tell the body it no longer needs to produce androgens.
Implants for prostate cancer treatment are called radioactive seed implants. They are a form of radiation therapy that are implanted permanently in the prostate with limited damage to surrounding healthy tissue. They are a convenient form of radiation therapy as they do not require the five to eight weeks of daily treatments that traditional external radiation does. The seeds deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor without exposing the rest of the body to harmful elements.
Implants – What to Expect:
The number and location of these seeds are determined by a computer-generated treatment plan based on tumor location and size. A typical implant procedure consists of anywhere from 40 to 100 seeds. After a few months of treatment, the radiation in the seeds wear off, and they are no longer useful or harmful to the body.