Prostate cancer

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Chemotherapy for prostate cancer

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapythat circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour.

Chemotherapy has an important role in the treatment of prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormonal therapy (hormone-refractory or castration-resistant prostate cancer).

Drugs, doses and schedules vary from man to man.

Chemotherapy drugs

The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat hormone-refractory prostate cancer are:

  • docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
  • cabazitaxel (Jevtana)

The most common chemotherapy combinations used to treat hormone-refractory prostate cancer are:

  • docetaxel and prednisone (Deltasone)
    • This is the standard chemotherapy combination used to treat hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
    • It helps to reduce symptoms and prolong survival.
  • mitoxantrone and prednisone
    • This was the first treatment approved for advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
    • It reduces pain and improves quality of life.
  • cabazitaxel and prednisone
    • This combination is effective in men who have failed or do not respond to docetaxel.
    • This is the best second-line chemotherapy combination.

For more detailed information on specific drugs, go to sources of drug information.

See a list of questions to ask your doctor about chemotherapy.

Stories

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Facing the financial burden of cancer

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The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.

Learn more