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Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

Specific treatment for prostate cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

Surgery: The following are some of the different surgical options used to treat prostate cancer:

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and to decrease their ability to divide. Radiation is often used to treat prostate cancer that is still confined to the prostate gland, or has spread only to nearby tissue. If the cancer is more advanced, radiation may be used to shrink the size of the tumor and to provide relief from symptoms.

There are generally two types of radiation therapy:

Hormone therapy:  Produced mainly in the testicles, male hormones such as testosterone cause prostate cancer cells to grow. Reducing hormone levels can sometimes make the prostate cancer shrink or slow its growth. The goal of hormone therapy is to lower the level of male hormones in the body. Hormone therapy does not cure the cancer and is often used to treat people whose cancer has spread or recurred after treatment.

There are several types of hormone therapy, including the following:

Chemotherapy: The use of drugs to treat cancerous cells, chemotherapy is rarely the primary therapy for men with prostate cancer, but it may be used when prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, especially if hormone therapy is no longer effective.

Chemotherapy is not a standard treatment for early prostate cancer. And although it may slow tumor growth and reduce pain in more advanced cancers, it does not cure them.

Docetaxel (Taxotere), along with the steroid drug prednisone, is usually the first chemotherapy drug given. A second drug, cabazitaxel (Jevtana), may be used (along with prednisone) if docetaxel is not effective. Both of these drugs have been shown to improve survival times by an average of several months. Other chemotherapy drugs may also be tried if these no longer work.

Angiogenesis inhibitors: A chemical that interferes with the signals to form new blood vessels is referred to as an angiogenesis inhibitor. This treatment may prevent the growth of cancer by blocking the formation of new blood vessels.

Thalidomide has been identified as having mild activity as an angiogenesis inhibitor in some cancers. A newer version of this medication is lenalidomide (Revlimid), which has fewer side effects than thalidomide.

Another medication, bevacizumab (Avastin®), has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to aid in the treatment of colorectal, lung, and some other cancers.  Two newer additions to antiangiogenesis therapy include sunitinib (Sutent®) and sorafenib (Nexavar®).  Many other angiogenesis inhibitors are now being studied as well.

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