Making Decisions About Home Care

Diagnosed With Aggressive Prostate Cancer? What Are Your Best Treatment Options?

by Mae Ferguson

If you've recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, you may be trying to quickly gather as much information about treatment options as possible to help you make a swift but informed decision. Fortunately, over the last several decades, there have been major advances in healthcare technology and targeted tumor treatment that can successfully battle even the most rapidly spreading types of cancer. Read on to learn more about some of the best treatment options for aggressive prostate cancer. 

Why are some types of prostate cancer more aggressive than others?

Many of the most deadly cancers (like pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and lung cancer) are deadly in part because they tend to be asymptomatic until the disease spreads to the lymph nodes, where it is quickly disseminated throughout the body. While prostate cancer can also lie dormant for long periods of time (as well as display symptoms that can easily be chalked up to advancing age), there are several forms of this cancer and some spread much more rapidly than others. Prostate cancer defined as "high risk" usually involves an elevated level of PSA hormone or metastasis to other parts of the body.

How can you treat this aggressive cancer? 

While having your prostate and any associated tumors removed as quickly as possible may seem like the most logical way to combat this cancer, doing so could actually encourage the cancer cells to spread -- much like the cloud of spores a mushroom will release if touched. Often, it's best to combat this disease with radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy to shrink the tumor and prevent it from metastasizing.

  • Hormone therapy

Because the prostate is part of the male reproductive system, it is especially responsive to male hormones (androgens) like testosterone. This responsivity extends to cancer cells, and higher testosterone levels can often lead to faster-spreading cancers. Hormone therapy attempts to deprive your body of excess testosterone to shrink your prostate tumors and make them more responsive to radiation and chemotherapy. It's important to note that hormone therapy on its own won't be enough to treat aggressive prostate cancer -- however, it should stop the tumors from growing, which will make them easier to treat.

  • Chemotherapy 

This treatment tackles cancer cells through a specialized cocktail of medications designed to incapacitate or kill cancerous cells while leaving your body's healthy cells intact. While you'll need to visit the hospital for your chemo treatments, they're often performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to recover and recuperate at home. In combination with hormone therapy to shrink prostate tumors, chemotherapy can be a highly effective treatment option.

For more information, contact a clinic like Unity Urology PC.