Glands in the body produce hormones, which act as chemical signals. The hormones travel through the bloodstream and affect how the cells and tissues act in the body. Androgens are male sex hormones which aid in the development and maintenance of traits in a man. The most common androgens in a male are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone is mainly released by the testicles; however, a small amount of the hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. The male hormone, especially testosterone, is responsible for fueling prostate cancer; the hormones accelerate the growth of the cancerous cells. If a man has the ailment, the physician may prescribe Lupron for prostate cancer.
Lupron and Prostate Cancer
Before getting to understand how Lupron depot for prostate cancer works, let’s find out how the hormones support or stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. A prostate is a gland in the reproductive system of a man and its main function is to produce semen. For the normal growth and function of prostate gland, androgens are important. Prostate cancer cells and non-cancerous cells can’t grow and spread in the absence of this crucial hormone; the hormone fuels cancer by attaching to as well as activating the protein (androgen receptor) expressed in the cancerous cells. Once activated the receptors stimulates the genes that enable the cancerous cells to grow and spread.
In the early stages of prostate cancer, the ailment requires elevated levels of androgens to spread; these prostate cancer cells are termed as androgen sensitive or androgen dependent. Since the therapies lower androgen levels or block the activity of the hormone, hence the growth of cancer is hindered. Lupron therapy for prostate cancer is effective if cancer has spread outside the prostate, also in patients who wants to shrink the growth in readiness for surgery and for it to be effective. Additionally, it’s used in males, who have undertaken primary cancer treatment such as radiation or surgery, yet cancer has reoccurred. As time passes and the cancer advances in stages, it continues to grow and spread even when the androgen levels are very low or undetectable.
Lupron is effective in prostate cancer management.
What Does the Drug Do For Prostate Cancer?
Lupron is a prescription drug which is used for a number of functions. It belongs to a class of medications known as LHRH (luteinizing –hormone releasing hormone) Agonists. LHRH is a vital hormone released into your body before testosterone production. Blocking the production of LHRH by using Lupron injection for prostate cancer is an example of a therapy known as androgen suppression or androgen deprivation. Lupron injection hinders the release of luteinizing hormone; it binds to the LHRH receptors on your pituitary gland so interfering with the production of testosterone. For an elaborate explanation, continue reading.
In the normal circumstance when no medication is used, if androgen or testosterone levels are low in one’s body, LHRH triggers the pituitary gland to produce LH (luteinizing hormone), which triggers the testicles to produce testosterone. If Lupron for prostate cancer is given for the first time, just like the natural LHRH, LH production is stimulated, leading to an increase of testosterone production, causing phenomena known as testosterone flare. The flare makes some men encounter temporary new or worse signs and symptoms of prostate cancer like urinary symptoms as well as bone pain; if cancer has spread to your urinary tract; urinary blockage or pressure in your spine can happen and cause paralysis which may be fatal. That’s why the doctor may closely monitor your progress during the first few weeks of Lupron treatment for prostate cancer. Contact the medical care provider if you note new or worsened signs at the beginning of the therapy. To counter these effects, the physician may give another hormone known as antiandrogen therapy together with Lupron for a couple of weeks. Eventually, after testosterone flare, the wanted effects are attained; testosterone production is reduced and cancer cells are deprived of testosterone and progression is slowed or stopped.
When to Start Taking This Medication
There has always been a debate on the best time to start Lupron for prostate cancer; at which stage is the injection effective. Some physician argues that beginning the medication too early may slow the progression of cancer, but at some point, it becomes resistant and stops responding to Lupron injections. Hence a few cancer cells continue to spread, even with a minimal amount of testosterone as earlier indicated. Therefore, for this reason, some medical care provider recommends giving Lupron dosage at irregular intervals.
While on the drug, expect to encounter side effects of Lupron injections for prostate cancer. The undesired effects may require medical intervention while others may not. The common Lupron for prostate cancer side effects clears after the body becomes used to the medication and includes:
- Hot flashes or sweats
- Injection site reaction like pain
- Shrinkage of the testicles and the penis
- Difficulty urinating
- Fatigue or weakness
- Reduced sexual desire
- Erectile dysfunction
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Any man is at risk of prostate cancer; one man out of six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer. A high percentage of men who reach 80 years have cancer cells in their prostate. Apart from being a man, there are risk factors which contribute to having prostate cancer at one point in life, such as:
- Age: this is the main risk factor for prostate cancer and it’s even higher as one age; white men without any family history of cancer are at risk of getting cancer past 50 years. On the other hand, black men with a family history of the disease may develop it at the age of 40. The majority of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer are aged 65 years and above. Past the age of 70, however, the ailment is less aggressive.
- Family history and genes: inside the cells are genes inherited from parents. The genes are responsible for growth and development of a person as well as the physical appearance. If there are one or more faulty genes, cancer may occur. A man whose close relative, for example, father or a brother had prostate cancer is at risk of the disease.
- Diet– studies suggest that high dietary fat is a contributing factor for the ailment. Countries whose staple diet consists of meat and dairy products are mostly affected by the ailment.