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Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy   


Prostate cancer is a serious disease commonly found in men. It is more common among men who are aged above 50. Once diagnosed with the condition, the victim immediately starts searching for therapies to overcome it. To win the battle over prostate cancer, several therapeutic methods are usually used: surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, combination of hormonal and radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The question now is how prostate cancer chemotherapy works, or what it involves? 


What is chemotherapy?  


It is obvious from the name that chemotherapy is the fact of using strong pharmaceutical or curative chemicals to kill the cancer cells in the entire organism. Normally, chemotherapy aims at killing cells that reproduce rapidly which is the main characteristic of cancer cells, cancerous cells spilt and divide faster than normal cells, they do not die within the normal cycle in a process called apoptosis or programmed cell death. Natural or programmed Cell death is crucial for normal human development and healthy living.  So, chemotherapy kills those cancer cells that refuse to die naturally (apoptosis).  That may sound good, but the therapy has its drawback. A major disadvantage of chemotherapy is that it not only kills the cancer cells but also healthy ones that grow and divide rapidly: cells of skin, bone marrow, hair follicles and lining of the digestive system for instance. 


How Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy Works? 


During chemotherapy treatment specific drugs are involved to realign and impair the growth of the cells in the prostate gland. These are anti cancer drugs commonly known as cytotoxic drugs or chemotherapy drugs. They target the cancer cells first as they have the tendency to spread faster. The chemical compounds works only over those cells and tumors in prostate that grow fast. The efficacy of the therapy depends greatly on the stage of the tumor at diagnosis.  


Chemotherapy works well when it is used for treating early stages prostate cancer. It might not work effectively in advanced stages or metastatic prostate cancer. When chemotherapy is given during early stage of the disease, it completely destroys the malignant cells in the prostate cancer and their ability to reproduce. In fact, it is very easy to cure the patient with the help of chemotherapy if the person is in the stage T1 and T2. In these two stages, cancer cells are just within the prostate gland and have not proliferated to other organs.


Precisely, chemotherapy will be helpful to prostate cancer patients in the following ways:   

  • It would slow down the growth of the tumor in the prostate cancer 
  • It will diminish the pain felt due procreation of cancerous cells 
  • It will shrink the size of the existing tumor in the prostate.  

Administration of Chemotherapy


Chemotherapy can be administered to patients in two ways. The first method is intravenous where medicines are given through veins. The second method is the oral intake of medicines. Sometimes, for better results, chemotherapy medications are given through both ways. Several blood tests are done before and after chemotherapy in order to know how patient’s body is responding to the treatment.  


Limitations of chemotherapy  


According to the medical facts, chemotherapy does not make difference between healthy cells and malignant cells. This explains why the therapy causes so serious side effects. In fact, sometimes weak patients die from the therapy instead of the cancer itself. Sometimes the core of the tumor cannot be affected by the chemicals. This explains why chemotherapy is not always successful in treating prostate cancer. In addition, there are remote chances of the cancer cells to multiply faster after the chemotherapy is done. In such cases the doctors immediately opt for other therapies or treatments.