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Prostate Cancer Treatment and Bone Health: Why the 2 Go Together

Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer will find a number of treatment options are often available to them. From surgical removal of the prostate itself to external beam radiation, seed implant therapy and hormone therapy, the best treatment choice will depend a lot on the particular case in hand.

Men who undergo androgen deprivation therapy, however, may find this common treatment option is highly useful in that it helps starve cancer cells by blocking a key hormonal fuel (testosterone). This form of therapy is often used in conjunction with others to shrink tumors and assist in helping lower recurrence risks.

Androgen deprivation therapy, however, isn’t without its own share of risks. This therapy can enhance normal bone density loss often experienced with aging, creating a sticky situation for patients when it comes to quality of life. Doctors are realizing this more and more and are taking steps to ensure not only sound prostate cancer treatment, but also retention of quality of life.

When it comes to androgen therapy, there are ways doctors can help men enjoy the benefits without such a high risk of bone loss. The treatments available to offset this side effect involve medications. One drug, called Prolia, is given as an injection every six months for prostate cancer patients whose cancer has not spread into the bone. For those who have experienced a spread, another medication, Xgeva, is available. This drug is meant to prevent pathological fractures while Prolia prevents fractures by increasing bone density while strengthening bones.

Men who are undergoing prostate cancer treatments should explore their options carefully with their oncologists. If androgen therapy is included in a treatment plan, bone density may become a concern. The best course of action to treat cancer while retaining quality of life is a decision best made directly between a man and his oncologist.