Hormone therapy is most often a treatment offered to men suffering from prostate cancer. It’s typically used to reduce testosterone levels in the body, the primary male hormone that governs hair growth, body shape, and sex drive. Testosterone also helps manage the prostate, with increased testosterone levels allowing prostate cancer to grow and spread rapidly.
Hormone therapy aims to stop or slow cancer growth by lowering your testosterone levels. If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer or have suspicions that this may be the case, you must address the matter with a doctor to discuss potential forms of treatment. If you have questions about this treatment, our team at The Healthy Choice can give you answers.
How Can Hormone Therapy Help?
Hormone therapy can help significantly reduce the body’s testosterone levels, reducing the hormone supply to cancerous cells and slowing their growth and spread. The treatment blocks signals from the brain that promote testosterone production in the testicles, thus preventing accelerated growth and allowing specialists the time needed to destroy the cancer entirely.
Hormone therapy isn’t a cure for cancer. But its role in slowing the production of cancer cells makes it an excellent complementary treatment when used alongside more aggressive therapies designed to eradicate it.
What Types of Hormone Therapy Are Available?
Hormone therapy is available in various forms, from tablets, implants, and injections to surgery. Medications used during hormone therapy can be categorized as either LHRH antagonists or anti-androgens.
LHRH is a hormone that prompts your body to produce more testosterone. LHRH antagonists prevent further testosterone production, rapidly reducing the levels in your body. They’re often administered via injection into a muscle every one to three months or via a subdermal implant that provides a steady dose of LHRH that lasts anywhere from one month to a year.
Anti-androgens instead act as a wall, preventing the testosterone produced in your adrenal gland from reaching your prostate. These are usually taken orally up to three times daily, depending on the level needed to reduce your testosterone levels.
Other forms of hormone therapy include a surgery known as an orchiectomy. Although the success rate of the operation is high, it’s also irreversible and therefore less desirable than medication as a form of treatment. Careful consideration should be taken before agreeing to such a procedure, so speak with your doctor about your options first.
What Are The Advantages?
Hormone therapy can reduce testosterone levels and slow the growth or spread of prostate cancer cells. Many men undergoing this treatment can continue on with their day-to-day lives. This option can be less traumatic than chemotherapy and similar treatments.
Whether you’re talking tablets, injections, or surgery, all forms of cancer treatment have advantages and disadvantages to consider. Hormone therapy also has side effects to watch out for, including fatigue, weight gain, hot flushes, and erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will monitor all these effects via regular blood tests.
They’ll also keep an eye on your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels to see how your treatment is progressing. This means taking regular blood samples and discussing any side effects you may be experiencing. Changes in diet and exercise may help mitigate any potential side effects.
Discuss Hormone Therapy With a Greenwich Pharmacist
If you believe hormone therapy may be beneficial in treating your health issues, reach out to our pharmacists at The Healthy Choice for guidance and advice. We’re always happy to speak to patients looking to learn more about potential treatments.
When you’re ready to speak with your doctor about hormone therapy, give us a call at 914-238-1700 or complete our online contact form. We can provide the tools and information you need to make an informed decision with your doctor.