Chemotherapy for locally advanced prostate cancer
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Your doctor will explain if chemotherapy is a suitable treatment for you. This depends on the risk of the cancer coming back. Your doctor looks at the stage and grade of the cancer to work this out. It may be given if:
- the cancer is bigger
- the locally advanced prostate cancer has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes
- the PSA level (prostate specific antigen level) and Gleason score are very high.
Doctors find out your PSA level using a PSA test. When used with other tests, a PSA test can help doctors diagnose prostate cancer. Your Gleason score helps doctors find out how quickly cancer cells may grow or spread. This is known as grading.
Chemotherapy may be given with hormonal therapy for prostate cancer before starting radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Chemotherapy usually begins within 12 weeks of starting hormonal therapy. Radiotherapy will start when you have recovered from your chemotherapy and when the PSA in your blood has fallen to a very low level.
You need to be well enough to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. It may be more suitable if you are younger and have no other health problems.
You and your doctor can talk about the possible benefits and disadvantages before you make a decision. We have information about making treatment decisions to help you think about your treatment options.
Your doctor or nurse will explain the most common and serious side effects of docetaxel (Taxotere®). They will tell you how they can be treated or managed. Always tell them about your side effects.
Some common side effects of docetaxel include:
- risk of infection
- bruising and bleeding
- anaemia (low blood count).
Below is a sample of the sources used in our prostate cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
C. Parker, E. Castro, K. Fizazi, et al. Prostate cancer: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology, 2020, Volume 31, Issue 9, p1119-1134. Available from www.esmo.org/guidelines/genitourinary-cancers/prostate-cancer
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2019) Prostate cancer: diagnosis and management (NICE guideline NG131) Available at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng131
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