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Safe use of controlled doses of radiation to treat disease, especially cancer.  Usually given by pointing an X-ray machine at the part of the body to be treated, but can also be given by drinking liquid, having an injection or having a radioactive implant put into your body (brachytherapy).

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Northern Centre for Cancer Care

Hormone treatment for prostate cancer

Contact: (0191) 256 3585 - Sarah Rushbrooke and Karen Hertwick, Uro Oncology Nurse Practitioners

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

Following your recent consultation, your consultant oncologist has recommended hormone treatment for your prostate cancer. This information aims to explain how hormone treatments work in treating prostate cancer.

What is hormone treatment?

Zoladex or Prostap are the hormone treatments used. These drugs are given to stop the release of a hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone from the testicles. Prostate cancer needs testosterone to grow so by stopping its production we can slow down the growth of the cancer cells.

During your treatmentShow [+]Hide [-]

How is it given?

This drug is usually given in the form of a one monthly or three monthly injection under the skin. The treatment is usually started in the hospital by your consultant and then continues with your own doctor. You will be given a prescription for Cyproterone acetate tablets (CPA) and Zoladex or Prostap injection. The CPA tablets are to be taken one week prior to your first hormone injection and for two weeks thereafter. You must complete the course of CPA and they do not need to be continued by your GP.

Your first hormone injection will usually be given to you by the nurse practitioner in clinic. It is given in the form of an injection that lasts for four weeks. After this your GP or practice nurse will give your injections once every 12 weeks until your consultant advises otherwise.

What are the side effects of the hormone treatment?Show [+]Hide [-]

Side effects vary. You may not experience them all. If you develop any problems we can discuss treatment when you attend your appointments. The most common side effects include:

  • Impotence and lack of sexual desire
  • Hot flushes
  • Mild weight gain around the abdomen
  • Weight loss on the arms and legs
  • Lethargy and lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Swelling and discomfort around the breast area.

Everyone is different and your doctor or specialist nurse will be happy to discuss, and help to manage, any of these problems.

How do I know if the treatment is working?Show [+]Hide [-]

In order to monitor your symptoms and your treatment you will be reviewed regularly by your specialist team. This will either be at your urologist’s clinic or the oncology clinic at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

During this appointment your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test will be taken to assess your response to treatment. Your prostate may also be examined but not at each visit. At the clinic you will have the opportunity to discuss your disease and the treatment you are receiving. You will also have the opportunity to discuss any concerns or worries you may have about your treatment.

This information is a guide to explain your treatment and is not intended to replace the information given to you by your consultant or specialist nurse. It contains a lot of information so if you have further questions regarding your treatment please contact your specialist nurse on the numbers below.

Uro Oncology Nurse Practitioners
Northern Centre for Cancer Care

Tel: 0191 233 6161 ask for one of the Uro Oncology Nurse Practitioners

(Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm)

Other useful sources of information

Mr Kevin Hayes, Macmillan Information and Support Centre Manager
Northern Centre for Cancer Care
Freeman Hospital
High Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 213 8611

For further information regarding the drugs you receive, contact Macmillan Cancer Support.

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