Health Library

Cancer Types - Chemotherapy For Prostate Cancer

To search through our library of topics, please make a selection below. Remember, the information in this library does not substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare team. Always consult your physician for more information.

Cancer Types - Chemotherapy For Prostate Cancer

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancerous cells. Specific treatment for prostate cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • stage of the cancer
  • your tolerance for specific medications and procedures
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Often chemotherapy is not the primary therapy for men with prostate cancer, but it may be used when prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, or in combination with other therapies.

According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy is not effective against early prostate cancer. And although it may slow tumor growth and reduce pain, it also has had limited success for the treatment of advanced prostate disease.

However, in 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of docetaxel (Taxotere) along with Prednisone, a steroid, for use in prostate cancer that had no longer responded to hormone therapy. This is the first chemotherapy regimen that has been shown to improve survival.

How is chemotherapy administered?

Your oncologist will determine how long and how often chemotherapy treatments are necessary, if at all. Chemotherapy can be administered intravenously (in the vein) or by pill, and usually involves a combination of drugs. Chemotherapy treatments are often given in cycles: a treatment period, followed by a recovery period, followed by another treatment period.

Chemotherapy may be given in a variety of settings including your home, a hospital outpatient facility, a physician's office or clinic, or in a hospital. Hospitalization may be necessary to monitor treatment and to control chemotherapy's side effects.

What are the most common side effects of chemotherapy?

As each person's individual medical profile and diagnosis is different, so is his/her reaction to treatment. Side effects may be severe, mild, or absent. Be sure to discuss with your cancer care team any/all possible side effects of treatment before the treatment begins.

Most side effects of chemotherapy disappear once treatment is completed. Common side effects of chemotherapy depend on the drug used, the dosage, and the length of treatment, and may include the following:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • hair loss
  • anemia
  • reduced ability of blood to clot
  • mouth sores
  • increased likelihood of infection
  • fatigue

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Cancer Center

Connect with MLH

New Appointments
1.866.CALL.MLH

 Well Ahead Newsletter


Connect With MLH

Copyright 2014 Main Line Health

Printed from: www.mainlinehealth.org/diw/content.asp?PageID=P08118

The information provided in this Web site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. See additional Terms of Use at www.mainlinehealth.org/terms. For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.