What is hormone therapy for prostate cancer?
While surgery and radiation can both be viable cures for prostate cancer, the original treatment was hormone therapy. In fact, physician and cancer researcher Charles Brenton Huggins was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering this treatment option because it was so revolutionary at the time. Hormone treatment reduces testosterone in the body and although it is not a cure, it can be very effective for treating advanced prostate cancer.
Am I a candidate for hormone therapy?
Early stage prostate cancer can be treated with surveillance, surgery, or radiation. More aggressive cancers benefit with hormonal therapy if radiation is being used to treat the cancer.
Hormone therapy can be used to treat metastatic prostate cancer, which is cancer that has spread outside of the prostate. While it is not a cure, the hormone therapy can help relieve pain and increase survival time.
How is hormone therapy delivered for prostate cancer?
Hormone therapy is delivered via an injection of a long-lasting drug into the patient’s body. This drug is usually called a lutenizing releasing agonist or LHRH agonist. Some formulations last up to 6 months. Another drug, called an LHRH antagonist, works faster than the agonist but does not last as long. There are pros and cons for both drugs. The drugs must repeatedly be injected and can be very costly if they are not covered by the patient’s insurance plan.
Another method of hormone therapy involves the removal of the portion of the testicles that produce testosterone. This is called a simple bilateral orchiectomy, an irreversible procedure that reduces testosterone levels more effectively than drugs and is less expensive. Usually the removal is an outpatient procedure done in the hospital.
What are my options for cash pay or no insurance?
Affordable treatment for self-pay or cash-pay prostate cancer patients is available. The Urology Place can treat patients in the office for advanced prostate cancer, with the testicles being removed under local anesthesia in a procedure similar to that done in the hospital. For cash-pay patients who may not be able to afford the higher cost of the hospital and anesthesia, in-office testicle removal can be much more cost-effective. Patients need to be off any blood thinners for at least a week prior to the procedure, and a consultation is needed first as not every patient is a good candidate. The expert staff at The Urology Place provides detailed information for patients who do not have insurance and need treatment for prostate cancer. The Urology Place is committed to tailoring treatment to meet patients’ medical needs while working within financial constraints whenever possible.