Prostate cancer that has reached its stage IV or metastatic state is treatable but unfortunately not curable. Metastatic prostate cancer can usually be treated by standard therapies such as hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Using these treatments over a period of time, metastatic prostate cancer can be controlled for several years.
The simple theory behind the treatment through hormone therapy is that it deprives a man’s body of male hormones that are necessary for prostate cancer cells to grow. The treatment of hormone therapy, initially can be achieved with orchiectomy, which means removal of one or both the testicles, or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogues solely or in combination with an anti-androgen.
Just like hormone therapy, chemotherapy is a systematic therapy in which the cancer-fighting drug circulates in the blood and to the parts of the body where the cancer may have spread. It can also kill or eliminate cancer cells at sites that are at great distances from the original cancer. Conventional chemotherapy drugs that are available for the treatment can have serious side-effects including loss of immunity, loss of hair, nausea, etc. because the drugs used in chemotherapy kill all kinds of cells that come in its way.
As a result, in the recent times, several new chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs have been developed to treat the metastatic stage of cancer with minimal side effects and damage to normal, healthy cells.
Immunologic therapy, or immunotherapy, is sometimes referred to as biological therapy. Biological therapy is a type of treatment that helps improving body’s allover immune system. This in turn facilitates in killing the cancer cells. The types of biological therapy or immunotherapy include interleukin, monoclonal antibodies, cytokines (colony stimulating factors), interferon, and vaccines.
Treating bone complications
Patients with advanced stage of prostate cancer might have cancer cells spread in their bones (usually hip bone or pelvis). This is called as bone metastases. Bone metastases usually cause immense pain in that region and increases the risk of fractures. The condition can further lead to life-threatening conditions which is characterized by increased level of calcium in the blood, called as hypercalcemia. Its treatment might include drug therapy or radiation therapy.
Radiotherapy or radiation therapy is done to provide ease from bone metastases which a byproduct of metastatic prostate cancer. In this therapy, high intensity X-ray beams are incident directly over the affected bone.