Therapy for prostate cancer usually involves hormone therapy. This is followed by certain side effects. Depending on the hormone used in therapy, some side effects can vary, but in general, they are the same.
At the beginning of hormone therapy for prostate cancer, side effects involve impotence, sweating, hot flushes, breast tenderness etc.
Impotence or erectile dysfunction represents inability to get an erection. It frequently occurs in prostate cancer patient due to hormone therapy, particularly when therapy includes goserelin, leuprorelin or buserelin. During this treatment men don’t produce testosterone. Erection can be regained from 3 to 12 months after cessation of treatment. When therapy consists of only anti androgens, such as bicalutamde, men have 50 % chance of maintaining their erection and libido.
Sweating and Hot Flushes
Sweating and hot flushes are very unpleasant side effects of hormone therapy. These symptoms are also associated to menopause. When hormone therapy begins, testosterone level starts to decrease and cause hot flushes. This symptom might be better when body adapts to therapy or it can be relieved with progestogens hormones. It is believed that venlafaxine, medication for depression, can assist with hot flushes. Researchers recently evaluated efectiveness of venlafaxin, Cyproterone and Medroxyprogesterone in treatment for hot flushes. They concluded that venlafaxine doesn’t reduce hot flushes frequency as other two drugs and Medroxyprogesteron is recommended as the best therapy. To relieve hot flushes, you should limit or avoid hot drinks and cigarettes.
Breast tenderness or sensitive and painful breasts usually occurs because of high dose of Casodex. Tamoxifen alleviates breast tenderness. Alternatively, before starting hormonal therapy you might have radiotherapy in a small dose.
Tumour Flare Pain
This pain can become worse after hormonal therapy starts. Bisophosphonates are used for treating tumour flare pain.
Later Side Effects
Side effects of prolonged treatment with hormones include the following symptoms.
Weight gain is a normal consequence of hormonal treatment. It can be very hard to eliminate extra pounds but all you can do is try to control your weight with proper diet and exercise.
Patient will experience memory problems while being on hormone therapy. There is no cure to this problem but patient must deal with it the best he can (using reminders and similar).
Mood Swings and Depression
Patients on Zoladex reported experiencing mood swings and depression. Mood swings and depression are common side effects for every hormone therapy.
Osteoporosis or bone thinning can be result of prostate cancer. Risk of bone fractures can be increased when treatment include Zoladex. Osteoporosis is treated with bisphosphonates. Vitamin D and calcium should be additionally taken to reduce the risk of bone thinning.
Risk of Heart Failure
Hormonal therapy contributes heart conditions and if you are taking hormones you are at high risk of heart attack.