The Potential Side-effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment
- The major side effect from prostate cancer surgery is pain.
- Surgery can make skin dry, tender and red.
- Hormone therapy can affect libido.
- Biological therapy can cause symptoms similar to flu.
You may be able to take out cancer from you, but there lies the risk of side-effects with cancer treatments including prostate cancer treatment. The side-effects are a consequence of healthy cells getting damaged in the process of removal of the cancer cells. The cells and tissues that get damaged due to such treatment can lead to various side effects. The after effects of the treatment can range from mild to serious.
Side-effects after prostate cancer treatment vary depending on the type of treatment undergone.
The major side effect from prostate cancer surgery is pain. Patients almost invariably report lot of pain in the first few days post surgery. Medicines are prescribed to numb the impact of pain. Patients should discuss their discomfort freely with a doctor or nurse. It is normal if they feel tired or very weak for some time. The time to recuperate completely varies from patient to patient.
Radiation therapy on prostate cancer patients makes them very tired as it proceeds. The patients need to rest as much as possible but their dilemma is that doctors advise them to be very active. Patients can suffer from diarrhoea, and frequent urination that is very disconcerting. The skin around the area where the surgery was performed becomes dry, tender and red. Hair loss can result in the pelvic area. Hair loss can be temporary and even permanent depending on the level of radiation used.
Some of the side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer are impotence, lack of sex drive, and hot flashes. Some of the hormones used in this therapy which cause these side effects are oestrogen, orchiectomy and LHRH agonists. The LHRH agonist can actually increase the size of the tumour and worsen the symptoms experienced by the patient. This is a temporary problem and the testosterone level of the patient gradually falls. The fall in level of testosterone improves the condition of the patient.
Nausea, vomiting, tenderness and swelling up of breasts are some side effects of antiandrogen and oestrogen. A man's heart problems also get complicated, thus, this treatment is not advisable for men who have a family or personal medical history of heart disease.
Biological therapy causes symptoms similar to flu, such as fever, muscle aches, chills, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and weakness. Patients are also prone to bleed or bruise easily and get rashes. These side effects generally do not last after the treatment is over.
Read more articles on Prostate Cancer.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Jun 22, 2012
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