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VNA of Care New England
by Zangwill M

Other Treatments for Prostate Cancer

Active Surveillance

Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and may never become symptomatic or life-threatening. For such a slow-growing cancer, the pain, stress, and side effects of treatments may outweigh the benefits of treatment. However, it is not clear which prostate cancers may grow quickly and which grow slowly. Once prostate cancer is found your doctor will do regular tests and look for any symptoms that may suggest growth.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses medications to seek out cancer cells and destroy them. For example, one drug used to treat prostate cancer blocks the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread. Targeted therapy may be used in combination with other treatments for advanced prostate cancer.
Possible side effects include:

Vaccine Therapy

Vaccine therapy works by boosting an individual's own immune system to find and kill cancer cells. It works much like a regular vaccine, but it is not preventive. It is generally used in men who have not had success with other hormonal therapies.
Possible side effects include:
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Headache

Special Considerations

If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
  • Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.
  • Do not share your prescription medication.
  • Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills as needed.

References

Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T483438/Androgen-deprivation-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Angiogenesis inhibitors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/angiogenesis-inhibitors-fact-sheet. Updated October 7, 2011. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/prostate-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Smith DP, King MT, Egger S, et al. Quality of life three years after diagnosis of localised prostate cancer: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2009;339:b4817.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Watchful waiting or active surveillance for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/watchful-waiting.html. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2017.

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