Treatment and Deprivation Therapy
Men have some familiarity with some of the most well-known treatments for prostate cancer: surgery and radiation. And both can sound a bit scary. The latter treatment can be delivered via an external beam of radiation onto cancer cells. Radiation can also be delivered by implanting a collection of radioactive seeds (potentially roughly up to 100) into the prostate gland.
Different treatment options
Few realize there are a wide range of treatment options when it comes to treating prostate issues and cancer. Depending upon where cancer is in your body and prostate, and the aggressiveness of the cancer, your doctor may suggest a full or partial removal of the prostate.
Another option could be cryotherapy, in which the goal is to freeze the cancer cells and cut off their blood supply. This is accomplished by placing small needles into the tumor and utilizing gases to cause a freezing and thawing process that can kill prostate cancer cells.1
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)
A question that often comes up is, "what is ADT therapy and what does it do?" Essentially, it is a series of medications or procedures that seek to lower the body's level of androgens, which can often fuel prostate cancer tumor growth.
Androgens are made in the testicles, as well as in the adrenal glands. The most well-known androgen is testosterone. As mentioned, prostate cancer uses androgens as fuel.
My experience with it
I received a 6-month ADT shot called Lupron prior to undergoing 40 radiation treatments for a returning prostate cancer, 5 years after my prostate was removed.
The main way in the past to stop androgen from feeding cancer cells was to remove the testicles. Today there are several drugs that can for the most part eliminate the need to undergo such surgery.
Androgen deprivation therapy apparently can work in two ways. 1) Block the enzyme needed to make androgen, or 2) Turn off the growth signals from the androgens that feed the cancer cells.
If you are wondering how hormone therapy was delivered in my case, it was an injection in my butt which was formulated to last for 6 months. In my case, the effects lasted longer when it came to hot flashes and weight gain.
Shots can be formulated to last from 1 to 6 months depending upon what your physician believes is necessary. You may receive a single shot, or if your cancer has spread, you could be on therapy for an extended period of time.
Hopefully this explanation helps as you consider the many treatment options available for prostate cancer.
Have you gone through ADT or have questions about it? Let us know in the comments below.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?