Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer

If you have recently received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, the Doctors of Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona --a Phoenix-based medical practice-- may recommend a form of hormone therapy to slow the speed of cancerous growth and increase life expectancy. As prostate cancer is fueled by the male hormone, testosterone and related hormones called androgens, the goal of hormonal therapy is to permanently or temporarily block, counteract, or eliminate the production of the aforementioned catalysts.

Hormonal treatment for prostate cancer is not a cure. For this reason, prostate cancer hormone therapy is commonly used as a complement or pre-requisite for primary prostate cancer treatments, like prostate cancer surgery, brachytherapy, cryotherapy, and external beam radiation. The forms of hormonal therapy vary, but generally can be classified in one of the following categories:

  • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists induce a chemical castration by means of stopping the production of testosterone within the testicles. Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone is administered via injection and its effects are reversible with cessation of use.
  • Anti-androgens are a family of oral medications that inhibit the receptors within the prostate from absorbing testosterone. As anti-androgens do not eliminate the presence of testosterone, its side effects are less severe than that of medically induced castration.
  • Combined Androgen Blockades utilize both anti-androgens and LHRHs to stop the production of testosterone in the testis and block the affects of male hormones in the prostate that are produced by the adrenal glands.
  • Estrogen can be used to counteract the effects of testosterone, however, its use is generally recommended only for those individuals who experience resistance to initial hormone therapy as estrogen carries a known risk of cardiovascular complications.

As with many forms of treatment, hormone therapy presents a unique set of risks that vary by therapy type. The Urologists of Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona will gladly discuss these risk factors with patients prior to hormone therapy administration. Possible side effects include, but are not limited to, diarrhea, nausea, loss of sexual drive, breast growth and tenderness, weight gain, and fatigue.


Call 623-547-2600

to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our Urologists and start restoring your
pelvic health today.