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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Treatment Overview

Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer continued...

With intermittent androgen deprivation, known as IAD, men take cycles of hormone therapy medicines. Taking breaks between hormone therapy cycles gives men the chance to recover their ability to function sexually. It also gives relief from the other side effects of hormone therapy, including hot flashes, the loss of energy, and the loss of bone and muscle mass.

Hormone therapy usually works well at first to stop cancer growth. But in most cases, the cancer begins to grow again within a few years. At this point, the cancer is described as hormone-resistant, meaning it is not responding to standard hormone therapy. When this happens, other kinds of hormone treatments may be tried.

When hormone treatments no longer keep the cancer from growing, the cancer is called castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Treatments that may be used to help men live longer include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and medicines like enzalutamide.

Treatment for pain

Pain is one of the main concerns of people who have metastatic cancer. But cancer pain can almost always be controlled. You and your doctor have several options to help your pain, including pain-relieving medicines and radiation, such as external beam radiation therapy and bone-targeted radioisotopes.

Additional information about prostate cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate.

Palliative care

Palliative care is a kind of medical care for people who have serious and chronic illnesses. It is different from trying to cure your illness. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life—not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit. Some people combine palliative care with curative care.

With prostate cancer, palliative care may involve treatments to reduce tumors or bone pain, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radionuclides (medicine used in external radiation) for bone metastasis, and bisphosphonates, which slow the breakdown of bone and help relieve bone pain. Surgery to relieve bladder problems (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP) is also an option.

Palliative care may help you manage symptoms or side effects from treatment. It could also help you cope with your feelings about living with a long-term illness, make future plans around your medical care, or help your family better understand your illness and how to support you.

If you are interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to manage your care or refer you to a doctor who specializes in this type of care.

For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.

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