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Hormone Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer continued...

Many doctors use a combination anti-androgen with an LHRH medication to control advanced prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy drugs may be given in different ways, including:

  • Injection
  • Pellet under the skin
  • Pill

How often you receive hormone therapy drugs and how you get them depends on:

  • Type of therapy
  • Specific medication
  • How your cancer responds

If you become resistant to hormone therapy or don't tolerate the side effects, your doctor may try intermittent therapy. This means you'll have the drugs for a while, then go off, then go on again. This can improve your quality of life and make the hormone therapy more effective.

Orchiectomy. Your body makes most of its testosterone in the testicles. So outpatient surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy) is also a very effective type of hormone therapy that causes a very rapid and permanent drop in testosterone.

The doctor may combine orchiectomy with anti-androgen therapy.

Immunotherapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

If hormone therapy stops working, your doctor may suggest immunotherapy. This type of treatment uses your own immune system to attack the cancer cells.

Provenge (sipuleucel-T) is the vaccine used to treat advanced prostate cancer. To make it, the doctor removes white blood cells from your blood. These go to a lab, where they are genetically engineered to fight prostate cancer. These energized cancer-killing cells are then returned to you by intravenous (IV) injection in three separate treatments.

Radiation Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

In radiation therapy for advanced prostate cancer, focused high-energy rays kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. You may receive targeted radiation therapy to reduce the size of your tumors and provide relief from symptoms.

One drug, Xofigo, is approved for use in men who have advanced prostate cancer that has spread only to the bones. Candidates should have also received therapy designed to lower testosterone. Xofigo, given by injection once a month, works by binding to minerals within bones to deliver radiation directly to bone tumors. A study of 809 men showed that those taking Xofigo lived an average of 3 months longer than those taking a placebo.