Hormone therapy is one option used to slow the progression of prostate cancer. Since there are other treatments available, hormone therapy is rarely the first choice for treatment. There are certain instances when hormone therapy is appropriate.
1. Advanced Stage
For some men, the diagnosis of prostate cancer is made when it is in the later stages. At this time, the tumor may be large and have a lower chance of being eliminated with other treatment options alone. Although hormone therapy is unlikely to destroy the tumor when it is in an advanced stage, it may help shrink the tumor and increase the likelihood of a safer surgery. Your doctor may want to remove your prostate and any affected tissues nearby. Unfortunately, when the tumor is larger, it is more likely to encroach on surrounding structures, increasing the risk of permanent complications from surgery.
2. Inadequate Response To Other Treatments
Regardless of the stage of cancer, not all instances of prostate cancer behave the same. Chemotherapy and radiation are frequently used at all stages of prostate cancer, but some especially resistance cancers may continue to grow and spread during treatment. Hormone therapy can be used if there is an inadequate response to traditional prostate cancer treatments. Since prostate cancer is often dependent on the presence of male hormones to continue growing, using medications or surgical procedures to suppress or stop the production of male hormones might be effective in stopping the cancer or at least slowing the progression.
3. High Risk Of Recurrence
There are certain factors that doctors use to determine whether a man with prostate cancer is at an elevated risk for recurrence. Cancers that have extended beyond the prostate and affect other organs and lymph nodes are generally considered to have a high rate of recurrence, especially if the cancer has already spread to distant sites. Special tests, such as one used to detect the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), are used to assess risk.
A higher PSA is often correlated with more aggressive prostate cancers and a higher rate of recurrence. The Gleason score is another type of assessment that can have predictive value. Scores are determined based on results from pathology. Cancer that is well-differentiated is scored lower than instances where the cancer poorly-differentiated. The less differentiated the cancer, the higher grade it is and warrants a higher Gleason score.
Once prostate cancer is diagnosed, not all instances warrant hormone therapy. Generally, hormone therapy is reserved for the most serious cases of prostate cancer or when the possibility of recurrence is higher. For more information on prostate cancer hormone therapy, contact your local medical providers.