Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc

Prostate cancer side effects

Today's topic is regarding the prostate cancer side effects related to medications used and other health concerns. 

What are prostate cancer side effects of meds used to treat it?

 The treatment of prostate cancer is a multidisciplinary treatment, which means that the treatment plan combines different types of treatments.

The kinds of treatments used in prostate cancers are as following:

1. Active surveillance - this is used in early-stage slow-growing cancers. 

2. Surgery - Surgery in prostate cancer can be of many sorts( total prostatectomy, trans uretheral resection of the prostate, laparoscopic or robotic prostatectomy etc)

3. Radiotherapy

4. Chemotherapy (Flutamide, Docetaxel, and numerous other drugs)

5. Hormone therapy

Caught in early stages, prostate cancer is almost always a curable disease, but prostate cancer side effects of treatments used to treat it can be quite intrusive.

The most common prostate cancer side effects of meds used to treat it are mentioned below:

1. Impotence (erection problems) - this is a common side effect of hormone therapy (Goserelin, Leuprorelin etc).You will not be able to have an erection while you are taking this med (most commonly they are used 3moths per year). But, for some men the erection problems are permanent. This is because this drugs stop the producing of testosterone.

2. Hot flashes and sweating - also these problems are due to the testosterone dropping levels, resulting in the usage of hormone therapy. Hot flushes may be troublesome. Sometimes flashes gradually get better as one gets used to the treatment, but also, they can keep on happening as long as one is taking the meds.

3. Fatigue and weakness - this are common side effects of meds used to treat prostate cancer. 

4. Breast tenderness - it is a particular problem of men taking a high dose of Bicalutamide(Casodex). Their breasts become tender and swollen. 

5. Tumor flares pain - it is called the pain that worsens when one starts the treatment for prostate cancer. It is caused by some hormone therapy meds. 

The long term side effects of meds used to treat prostate cancer are:

1. Weight gain - this is because of the usage of hormone therapy. 

2. Memory problems - the memory of some men who are taking hormone therapy for a while may worsen. It will not improve as long as the hormone therapy treatment continues

3. Mood swings and depression - Hormone therapy can also affect the mood, causing depression and mood swings.

4. Osteoporosis (bone thinning) - hormone therapy can cause osteoporosis, which  may result in increased risk of bone fractures. Using bisphosphonates prescribed by the doctor might help in increasing the bone density.

5. Increased risk of earlier heart attack - increased risk of heart attack can happen to men over 65 years old who have undergone for more than 6 moths hormone therapy cure.

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