Hormone therapy may be used alongside other treatments to help cure prostate cancer: it is common for hormone treatment to be given with radiotherapy to improve the results. Hormone treatment can be used on its own for patients whose disease has spread beyond the prostate to other sites such as bone and lymph nodes. This is known as advanced prostate cancer. Unfortunately, at this stage of the disease, cure is no longer possible. The aim of treatment is therefore to slow/stop the growth of the cancer for as long as possible. We do this by using hormone therapy that eliminates the testosterone hormone which is essential for prostate cancer cells to grow.
Most patients respond very well to this treatment. However, it is the duration of response that remains uncertain. Prostate cancer usually responds to hormone treatment for many months - sometimes several years. Eventually, the prostate cancer will no longer respond to hormone treatment. At this stage the cancer is said to be hormone-relapsed prostate cancer. Your specialist will then proceed to treat you with either chemotherapy or other forms of hormone treatment when this occurs.
Hormone treatment can be given in a number of ways
- a regular injection every few months
- skin patches
- a small operation to remove the part of the testicles that produces the testosterone hormone