After skin cancer, prostate cancer tops the list as the most common cancer among American men. In fact, approximately 1 in 9 men have a prostate cancer diagnosis each year. Fortunately, recent advancements in medical treatment are bringing significant relief to many men, even when they have advanced prostate cancer.
These new prostate cancer treatments are able to suppress the growth of cancerous tumors by cutting off the fuel the cancer cells need to grow. While these drugs aren’t a cure, they have helped many men live productive lives.
Here at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina, our board-certified urologists and prostate cancer specialists stay abreast of the latest treatments, including these new and innovative drugs.
Understanding prostate cancer
A man’s prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that lies just below the urinary bladder in front of the rectum. It’s part of the male reproductive system, and it produces the fluid (semen) needed to nourish and carry sperm during ejaculation.
Like other cancers, prostate cancer develops when you have abnormal growth triggered by mutations in a cell’s DNA. These abnormal growths, known as tumors, can remain within the prostate. Over time, they can also spread ― or metastasize ― to other areas of the body.
Treatments for prostate cancer are most successful when these tumors grow slowly and remain confined to the prostate gland. However, new and innovative therapies are providing promising results, even in cases where the cancer has advanced significantly.
Prostate cancer and testosterone
Research shows that testosterone fuels cancerous prostate cells. In recent years, medical researchers have focused significant attention on blocking testosterone production to slow the growth of cancerous tumors. As a result, the FDA has recently approved several new medications that can do this. And, in many cases, they can provide results that last for years.
How new medications can treat prostate cancer
New medications that treat prostate cancer are anti-androgen drugs, which lower your testosterone levels. This enables them to stop prostate cancer tumors from growing by denying the abnormal cells the fuel they need to thrive.
These new medicines include:
- ErleadaⓇ (apalutamide)
- XtandiⓇ (enzalutamide)
- ZytigaⓇ (abiraterone acetate)
Each of these medications affects your testosterone production in different ways. Erleada and Xtandi, for example, are androgen receptor inhibitors, which means they work outside your cells. Zytiga, on the other hand, slows the production of androgens, such as testosterone, inside your cells.
Research into these drugs shows they can effectively delay cancerous tumor growth, often for years at a time. At first, these drugs were only prescribed after other therapies failed. However, because the results have been so impressive, physicians are now using them early during treatment and often in combination with other therapies.
To learn more about the latest treatments available, book an appointment over the phone with Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina today.