Prostate cancer cells need male hormones, called androgens, to grow. Testosterone is an androgen that is made by the testicles. Blocking the hormones with androgen deprivation therapy (also known as ADT, or hormone therapy) can slow tumor growth or shrink the tumor. This is usually done using drugs called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists, which prevent the testicles from making testosterone. Although it has significant side effects and almost always loses its effectiveness over time, ADT is still a very effective whole-body therapy. It should not be given routinely for those with early-stage, low-risk prostate cancer.
Roswell Park sponsors a prostate cancer education group for patients who are being treated with hormone therapy. Each meeting features an expert discussing the latest treatment advances, diet, exercise, dealing with sexual side effects, integrative medicine options, ways to manage symptoms and other topics. The group meets once a month at Roswell Park. For more information, call 716-845-8665.