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Prostate Cancer: Controlling Cancer Symptoms and Spread

Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate can often be treated. Hormone therapy can slow the growth and spread of the cancer. Chemotherapy may help relieve symptoms and control the cancer. Cancer pain can be managed with medications.


Hormone TherapyMature man talking a pill with large glass of water.

The hormone, testosterone, can cause prostate cancer to grow. Preventive treatments can include:

  • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists or antagonists. These medications reduce the amount of testosterone made by the testicles. They are usually injected monthly or every 3 months to 4 months.

  • Antiandrogens. These medications block the body’s ability to use testosterone. They are given by pill.

  • Orchiectomy. This surgery removes the testicles, the main source of testosterone.

Risks and Complications of Hormone Therapy

  • Hot flashes

  • Breast enlargement or tenderness

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Osteoporosis (bone loss)

  • Diarrhea

  • Loss of energy


Chemotherapy (chemo) uses medications to destroy cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemo may be given by pill or injection. It may be used with, or instead of, other treatments. It may slow the growth of cancer or, by shrinking tumor size, may relieve pain and other symptoms. A medical oncologist manages chemotherapy treatments.

Pain Control

Prostate cancer that has spread may cause pain. This pain can be treated. Controlling pain can improve your quality of life by relieving stress and helping you to better withstand the cancer. Discuss the side effects of these medications, and any other concerns you have, with your doctor.


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