Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. cells or make them less active. The aim of this treatment is to relieve symptoms and prolong quality of life. It is used to treat metastatic prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., especially if this cannot be controlled by hormoneA substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect. therapy, known as hormone-refractoryUnresponsive to hormone therapy. prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

Recommended if you have:

  • Metastatic prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.
  • Hormone-refractory prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

The drugs used in chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. may be given as tablets, injections or using a dripA means for the continuous injection into a vein.. You may have to stay in hospital while the treatment is being carried out. You may have cycles of chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. treatment for a time followed by a period when you receive no chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. treatment. This can be repeated several times.

Fast-growing cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. cells are the main targets of chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer., but certain healthy cells in the body that characteristically grow quickly, such as hair and bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. cells, and cells in the gut, can also be damaged. The rest periods between treatments give these cells a chance to heal. They also give you a chance to recover from the side effects.

Your response to the chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. will be checked after a few of the treatment/rest cycles have been completed. At this time, the dose and the type of treatment may be changed.

Chemotherapy drugs

Drugs used for chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. in prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. include:

  • Docetaxel
  • Mitoxantrone
  • Epirubicin
  • Paclitaxel.

Chemotherapy often uses a combination of different drugs to improve the chances of targeting all the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. cells. In some cases, other drugs are given at the same time, such as steroids.

Many people are concerned about the side effects of chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer., especially hair loss and feeling sick. Each medication has its own set of side effects. Not everyone will experience all or even most of the possible problems. This can depend on your age - toxic effects can be greater in older men.

Discuss the type of medications and their possible side effects with your doctor and the specialist who will be treating you with chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer.. This may help you prepare for any problems in advance.

Advantages of chemotherapy

  • Can relieve symptoms and prolong quality of life by shrinking and controlling the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. in metastatic prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

Disadvantages of chemotherapy

There are a number of possible side effects:

  • Poor appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Lower resistanceThe ability of a microbe, such as a type of bacteria, to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs. to infections
  • Sore mouth
  • Bruising/bleeding
  • Hair loss.

Following chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer., you will need to have regular check-ups for several years. These may include scans and X-rays. Any problems, new or old, should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible.