The objective of treatments discussed to this point has been to eliminate or stop the progression of cancer. Despite significant advances in the treatment of prostate cancer, some men will reach a point in their disease progression when treatments with proven survival advantage are no longer effective for controlling cancer or result in significant side-effects that make continuation unbearable.
There are many considerations in dealing with treatments for advanced cancer patients and with decisions to discontinue treatments intended to control cancer. You can find a good discussion in a booklet from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Advanced Cancer Care Planning
- There are a number of treatments for the prostate cancer patient that have not demonstrated a survival advantage but have been found effective at improving quality of life. In addition to the options discussed in the prior sections, these include:
- Pain medications including: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen), steroids (prednisone, dexamethasone), opioids (morphine, hydrocodone)
- Alternative treatments – there are a wide range of alternative treatments for pain (and treatment side-effects) that include: acupuncture, aromatherapy, exercise, hypnosis, meditation, relaxation techniques, etc. See:
You could investigate to see if there is a treatment in clinical trials that might prove to be effective with lower toxicity. Several promising agents for advanced prostate cancer are being investigated in ongoing trials including: MDV-3100, Custirsen, ZD4054, tasquinimod, etc.
Patient participation is critical to the approval of new treatments. Patients are encouraged to seek trials that may prove beneficial to themselves and could change the course of treating prostate cancer. See: CLINICAL TRIALS
Page updated 8/1/11