Chemotherapy

What is it?
  • The use of specific drugs to treat cancer.
  • Normally used to treat recurring or metastatic prostate cancer if hormone therapy does not work anymore.
  • Chemotherapy drugs affect both cancer cells and healthy cells. Healthy cells tend to regenerate whereas cancer cells struggle to do so.
  • It is sometimes used to treat more advanced cancer in conjunction with surgical removal of the prostate.
For more information about chemotherapy drugs visit our Prostate Cancer Drugs page.

What is done?

Chemotherapy is usually given through the vein but some forms can be taken as a pill.

 
What to expect?

Chemotherapy is typically used to slow the prostate cancer’s spread, prolong life, and relieve pain associated with the late stages of cancer.


Side effects and risks

Specific side-effects depend on the type of drugs that are given. The following side-effects are common with most types of chemotherapy:
  • Gastrointestinal side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Total or partial hair loss
  • Sensitive skin
  • Infertility
  • Vulnerability to infection (most commonly chest, mouth, throat and urinary infections)
  • Nail changes
Some side-effects can be treated with other drugs; others continue until chemotherapy is stopped.


 

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