In order for hormone therapy to work, either your body must stop producing testosterone or testosterone must be prevented from reaching cancer cells.
In order to grow, prostate cancer cells typically need testosterone. A hormone called testosterone regulates the growth and development of the prostate. It also regulates the size and functionality of the penis and testicles, as well as erections, muscle strength, and other male characteristics.
The testicles produce the majority of the testosterone in your body. The adrenal glands, which are located above your kidneys, contribute a small amount as well.
Normally, testosterone doesn’t cause any issues, but if you have prostate cancer, it may speed up the growth of the cancer cells. Even if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, it will typically get smaller if testosterone is removed.
Your prostate cancer won’t be cured by men’s hormone therapy alone. If hormone therapy is your only form of treatment, the goal of your care will be to manage or delay any symptoms while also controlling your cancer.
In order to increase the effectiveness of the treatment, hormone therapy can be combined with other therapies like radiotherapy.
Who can have hormone therapy?
Hormone therapy is an option for many men with prostate cancer, but it is applied differently depending on whether the cancer has spread.
Prostate cancer that is localised (early)
If your cancer has not spread beyond the prostate (localised prostate cancer), hormone therapy may be used in addition to your main treatment. Hormone therapy can shrink the prostate and any cancer within it, making it easier to treat. It may also improve the efficacy of your primary treatment. You could receive hormone therapy:
for six months prior to, during, or following external beam radiotherapy
if there is a risk of your cancer spreading outside the prostate for up to three years after external beam radiotherapy