Chemotherapy Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer
16 May 2022

Chemotherapy Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy treatment for advanced prostate cancer refers to therapy that uses chemicals (anti-cancer drugs) to destroy or halt the growth of cancer cells. According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy is not a standard treatment for early prostate cancer. Still, it is effectively used for aggressive cancer and when cancer has started to spread outside the prostate, i.e., advanced prostate cancer. Although chemotherapy does not cure cancer, it helps to reduce pain, discomfort, burning sensation, and other symptoms, extend your life and improve your quality of life.

This article aims to provide a basic understanding of the chemotherapy treatment for advanced prostate cancer, how it is given, and its cost aspects.

 Table of Content

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye: 

  1.   What is Advanced Prostate Cancer, and How is it diagnosed?
  2.   At What Stage of Cancer is Chemotherapy Used?
  3.   How is Chemotherapy Done?
  4.   How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost?
  5.   FAQs

Takeaway

 

1. What is Advanced Prostate Cancer, and How is it diagnosed?

 

When not limited to the prostate and has spread to other parts of the body, prostate cancer is known as advanced-stage prostate cancer. This occurs when cancer cells flow along with the bloodstream to reach other body parts like bones, etc., or to some specified glands of our body housing immune cells (Lymph glands). Advanced stage prostate cancer can cause symptoms like bone pain, fatigue (too much tiredness), blood in semen, pressure in the rectum, and problems with urination. The symptoms depend upon the location where the cancer cells have spread. Let your doctor know if you experience any of these symptoms.

Assessment and physical examination by your oncologist and specific tests will help to diagnose an advanced stage prostate cancer:

  • Prostate-specific antigen test(PSA): This test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen(PSA) present in your blood. If it is much more than normal, it indicates some problem with the prostate, but not necessarily cancer.
  • Digital prostate examination: It is done to find out if the prostate seems normal, enlarged or hard, or lumpy to know if there are associated problems.
  • MRI scan: It uses magnets to see a detailed picture of your prostate and its surrounding tissues.
  • CT Scan, Bone scan: CT scan determines if the cancer cells have spread outside the prostate, and cancer cells present in the bone are determined by a bone scan.
  • PET scan: It can give a more detailed view of very small areas to see if the cancer cells are present in other parts of the body.
  • Biopsy: A small sample of prostate tissue is taken, analyzed, and checked for any abnormalities.

These will give you an idea of where the cancer cells have spread so that you and your oncologist can discuss the best possible treatments.

 

2. At What Stage of Cancer is Chemotherapy Used?

 

Chemotherapy is used for advanced-stage prostate cancer and is not a standard early-stage treatment.

  • It is used to relieve symptoms associated with aggressive metastatic(spreading) cancer and improve quality of life.
  • To work along with the hormone therapy so that outcome can be enhanced.
  • To provide symptomatic relief to patients who no longer respond to hormonal therapy.
  • For improving the result of prostate cancer surgery if given for a short while after the surgery.
  • Those with advanced prostate cancer, who carries the AR-V7 gene variant

 

 3. How is Chemotherapy Done?

 

The chemotherapy drugs are injected through your vein (Intravenous) by a specialized cancer doctor in a hospital. However, it can also be given by mouth or with a shot injection. The drugs circulate into the blood and reach the cancer cells spread all over the body. It can be injected through:

  •  A thin tube is put into the vein of your arm cannula).
  •  A fine tube is put in the vein of your arm and goes up to your chest vein (PICC line)
  •  A thin tube that travels under the skin of your chest and into the nearby vein (central line)

Your doctor will decide which is the best option for you.

  • Chemotherapy is administered as many treatment sessions with a rest period of a few days after each session. This rest period provides time for your body to recover. Each session is around an hour long.
  • It is given in cycles, including the treatment session and the rest period.  Each cycle is usually 2-3 weeks long. The schedule for the cycle depends upon what chemotherapy medicines are being given. Some may be given only on the first day, followed by a rest period, while others may be given for several days.
  • It may take some months for all the cycles to be completed.
  • The total length of your treatment will depend on how well the chemotherapy is working for you.

Chemotherapy Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

 4. How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost?

 

The cost of chemotherapy treatment for advanced prostate cancer depends upon various factors:

  • The chemotherapy drugs used: Different drugs have different costs, so the cost will vary depending upon the drugs used for chemotherapy.
  • The number of chemotherapy cycles: It directly relates to the cost involved in the total chemotherapy treatment.
  • If other treatments like radiation or surgery are included: If surgery, hormonal therapy, or radiation therapy are also included along with the chemotherapy, then it will add to the cost.
  • Cost of diagnostic tests, medication, hospital charges, etc.: These charges will alter the total treatment cost.

On average, the chemotherapy cost in India ranges from INR 50,000 to INR 80,000 per cycle.

 5. FAQs

1. What are the side effects involved in chemotherapy?

  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Tiredness and fatigue

Usually, they can be managed by following your doctor’s instructions and medications.

2. Does an increase in PSA mean the chemotherapy isn’t working?

Not necessarily. Many times, the PSA levels increase after having chemotherapy, so the doctor is the best person to guide you on your condition.

3. How will I know if the drugs are working for me?

Physical examination by your oncologist and various tests will be carried out to assess your level of progress.

4. Will I lose my hair because of my treatment?

Hair loss may occur with some chemotherapy drugs, but not all. It may vary from thinning of hair to complete baldness affecting the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, legs, armpits, and pubic area.

 

Takeaway

Visit Dr. Vikram Shah Batra, the best urologist in Delhi, for prostate cancer chemotherapy treatment. His vast experience and excellent clinical excellence have satisfied thousands of patients. With him as your doctor, you will be assured of the best and most personalized treatment as per your needs with minimal discomfort and at an affordable cost.