Prostate Cancer: Prevention and Treatment
Bones are the first site attacked when prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body. This spreading of cancer to bones (bone metastasis) may be painful and result in other problems, including higher levels of blood calcium, fractures (breaks) etc. Most of the effects may also be life-threatening.
When cancer grows outside of the prostate, the major goal of top prostate surgeons is to slow down or prevent the spread of cancer to the bones. In case, cancer has already reached the bones, doctors aim at controlling or relieving pain as well as many other complications as the part of treatment.
Some of the most common treatments used under these conditions include:
– Hormone therapy
The following treatment procedure specifically targets bone metastasis as well as the issues caused:
These are drugs that work via slowing down bone cells (osteoclasts). The cells are responsible for breaking down the hard mineral bone structure in order to help keep them healthy. In most cases, osteoclasts tend to get overactive after prostate cancer spreads to the bones. This leads to several issues.
Bisphosphonates are mainly used for:
– Reducing high calcium levels and relieving pain caused by cancer that has got into the bones.
– Strengthen bones in men on hormone therapy.
– Slows down cancer growth that spread to the bones. It also delays or prevents fractures.
The most common bisphosphonate used for prostate cancer is Zoledronic acid (Zometa). The drug is injected intravenously (IV) once in 3-4 weeks. Doctors ask men to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement containing this drug to prevent low calcium level issues. Other bisphosphonates may also be used to treat prostate cancer.
According to research and studies, it is revealed that corticosteroid drugs (dexamethasone and prednisone) are effective in relieving bone pain. These also help decrease levels of PSA.
This is another drug used for treating prostate cancer that has spread to the bone. Similar to the bisphosphonates, it also works towards blocking osteoclasts (bone cells). However, this is done in a different manner.
This drug helps:
– Preventing or delaying issues such as fractures in men.
– When Zoledronic acid stops working.
– Slow down the spread of cancer to the bones in men with no obvious spread of cancer, but with PSA levels rising in spite of hormone therapy.
Denosumab is injected under the skin every four weeks. Doctors advise patients to take vitamin D and calcium supplement to prevent issues arising from low levels of calcium.
External Radiation Therapy
The therapy is very helpful in reducing pain in bone, especially in cases where the pain is restricted to only certain regions of bone. Doctors aim radiation at spinal tumors to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. This therapy is also helpful in relieving other symptoms via shrinking of tumors in various other body parts.
Pain medications are quite effective when prescribed as well. However, patients must focus on taking these on a regular basis. Also, these may not work well when used once pain becomes severe.
Immediate treatment of bone pain from prostate cancer is very important. This will help you feel better and pay attention to other important things in life. So make sure you discuss pain, other symptoms, or concerns related to the quality of life concerns with cancer care team. Doctors can effectively treat pain and most other prostate cancer symptoms.
These drugs contain radioactive elements and are injected into a vein. Thereafter, they settle in damaged bones parts such as those having cancer spreads. After reaching these affected areas, the rugs emit radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiopharmaceuticals are mainly used for treating prostate cancer that spread to several bones. These are capable of reaching all of the affected bones at one time.
The following listed radiopharmaceuticals are used for treating prostate cancer that had spread to the bone:
– Radium-223 (Xofigo)
– Samarium-153 (Quadramet)
– Strontium-89 (Metastron)
The drugs are effective in relieving pain caused due to bone metastases. Radium-223 is usually a part of early prostate cancer treatment.