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Treating prostate cancer with Zytiga

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Middle-aged man sitting and smiling directly at cameraDetecting and treating prostate cancer is increasingly important; it is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in men in the US today. As men are generally living longer than before, more and more of them are developing enlarged prostates, and the number of them where the tumor has become malignant is growing in step. In this blog, we will highlight how many doctors choose to treat prostate cancer with Zytiga for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

What are the differences between benign enlarged prostates, and prostate cancers?

About three-quarters of men who develop enlarged prostate glands do not go on to develop cancer of the prostate, and they usually don’t need any treatment. However, an examination performed by biopsy may show signs of cancer. In that case, active treatment is essential since there is an increased risk of the malignancy spreading to other parts of the body. 

What are the best paths for treating prostate cancer?

Treatments for prostate cancer are phased according to the level of risk. In the earlier stages, the main line of treatment is to reduce levels or inhibit the actions of testosterone, the primary male hormone. Testosterone acts as a trigger for cellular reproduction in the prostate gland. If less testosterone is circulating in the bloodstream or cannot perform its normal function in cell reproduction, then prostate cancer can be inhibited. The risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body will then be minimized.

For early-phase prostate cancers, doctors start by prescribing luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists such as Zoladex that lower testosterone production in the testicles. 

But when the tumor has not responded to this therapy, the tumor stage is classified as ‘castrate resistant’, and more aggressive treatment may be necessary. 

The preferred option is to treat castrate-resistant prostate cancer with Zytiga (generic name: abiraterone acetate). Zytiga’s action is different from the other hormone-influencing therapies. Their primary effect is to decrease the levels of testosterone production in the testes. However, they don’t affect the levels produced by the adrenal glands or the prostate gland itself. Zytiga suppresses androgen output at all three locations, making it more effective in inhibiting tumor cell replication in castrate-resistant patients.

Usually, Zytiga is taken along with Prednisone, a corticosteroid used to reduce inflammation. The two drugs work in tandem, since Predisone offsets some of the adverse side effects of abiraterone. 

FAQ

Is treatment necessary for prostate cancer?

Not all cases of prostate cancer require treatment. What is essential for the management of this type of cancer is to be regularly monitored by your doctor or a specialist in this field, such as a urologist or proctologist. The basic tests of a rectal examination and PSA blood tests should be performed at least every year or two. There may be signs that the tumor is advancing beyond the first stage. In that case, doctors will usually proceed with the primary therapy of testosterone management. However, if it looks like the cancer is overcoming this treatment, it means it is becoming castration-resistant. In such a case, more aggressive remedies are usually begun, starting with treating prostate cancer with Zytiga. Bottle of Zytiga and tablets

What are the risks associated with prostate cancer treatment?

All treatments come with some risks, and it’s your doctor’s job to weigh the relative risks against the benefits of any procedure. In the case of prostate cancer, an essential factor is a sharp deterioration in life expectancy if the cancer progresses beyond the early stage but remains untreated. While the five-year survival rate for most people with early-stage (stage one or two) prostate cancer is nearly 100%, once it has progressed and started to metastasize, the five-year survival rate is only 31%.

What is prostate cancer hormone treatment?

In the early stages of prostate cancer, it has been possible in many patients to slow down or even halt the growth of the tumor by restricting the levels of the primary male hormone testosterone. This hormone is necessary for cellular replication in the prostate gland, so by lowering the levels of testosterone or blocking its chemical actions, it is possible to restrict the growth of the gland. Just as significantly, this will reduce any chance of the tumor spreading outside of the gland (metastasizing), which can cause far more aggressive cancers elsewhere. 

The most common hormone therapies for prostate cancer involve luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists such as Zoladex that lower testosterone levels in the blood, or androgen receptor inhibitors like Casodex that stop testosterone from working. 

What are the best treatment options for prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer in each patient is categorized according to a protocol known as the Gleason score. The Gleason score is based on how much the cancer looks like healthy tissue when viewed under a microscope. Less aggressive tumors generally look similar to healthy tissue, while more aggressive cancers look less like healthy tissue and are more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body. A tissue sample taken from the gland is examined. The pathologist will look at how the cancer cells are arranged and assign a score between 3 to 5 from 2 different points on the slide. Healthy-looking cells receive a low score, while more aggressive cells receive a higher score. The two scores are added together, giving an overall score between 6 and 10.

The lowest Gleason score indicating low-grade cancer is six. For these men, the most common treatment is hormone restriction therapy. A Gleason score lower than six typically means that the man does not require any active treatment. 

A Gleason score of seven indicates medium-grade cancer. While hormone restriction therapy is usually still used, the progress of the cancer will usually be monitored more closely. Any signs that the hormone therapy is failing and the cancer is castration-resistant will usually lead to a switch to treating prostate cancer with Zytiga. Scores of 8 or higher mean high-grade cancer. In such a case, serious consideration may have to be given to more aggressive treatments.

What is the recommended drug for prostate cancer?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating prostate cancer. The most important factors are the stage of the cancer (the Gleason score), any sudden change in the tumor’s size, or any indication that the tumor may be spreading. In the earlier stages, a less aggressive approach to restricting the growth of the tumor with testosterone controls is usually applied. If the cancer is still growing, then a more active approach to treating prostate cancer with Zytigia is the most favored option. If the tumor continues to grow, or most importantly, if it is spreading to other parts of the body, the treating healthcare professional will choose from several more radical options based on the particulars of the patient’s condition.

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