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Prostate Cancer: Chemotherapy

Prostate Cancer: Chemotherapy

Prostate cancer may be treated with chemotherapy. This is the use of medications to destroy cancer cells. The drugs change how cancer cells grow or reproduce. 

Chemotherapy drugs may be used if cancer has spread to other parts of your body and hormone therapy is not working. It is not common to use this treatment for early prostate cancer. Chemotherapy does not cure prostate cancer, but it can lessen your pain and improve your quality of life.

How chemotherapy is done

There are many different kinds of chemotherapy drugs. You will likely only be given 1 drug for your treatment. Each drug works in a different way. Some are given by mouth as pills. Other types of drugs are given in a vein through an IV. The most common drug used is docetaxel. It is usually given with prednisone. This is a steroid medication. It lowers the chance of side effects from the docetaxel.

What to expect for your treatment

Most people have chemotherapy as outpatients at hospitals or clinics. You will likely not need to stay overnight. Chemotherapy is given in cycles that last a few weeks. You will be given the drugs with rest periods in between. This is to help let your body recover.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy affects normal cells as well as cancer cells. This can cause side effects. The side effects depend on the amount and type of medication used. Talk with your health care providers about what to expect. Side effects may occur in the days or weeks while you are having chemotherapy. Once your treatment has ended, the side effects usually go away. The side effects may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Decreased appetite

  • Sores in the mouth

  • Diarrhea

  • Feeling tired

  • Increased chance of infection

  • Loss of hair

  • Easy bruising

Talk with your health care providers about any side effects you have. They may be able to help lessen them. 

 
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