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How successful is prostate cancer injection treatment?

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Quick Answer

Injections for men with prostate cancer have shown to improve lifespan in some studies, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Cancer Society. Injections are given as part of radiation or hormone therapy.

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Full Answer

Some radiation treatments are done by injections and have some benefit, explains the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Strontium and samarium, two radioactive substances, are absorbed near the area of bone pain, which may cause the bone to shrink and alleviate pain. Another radioactive substance, radium-223 dichloride, is used to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. In one study, men who were injected with this substance lived an average of three months longer than those who received the placebo.

Injections for prostate cancer generally refer to hormone therapy injections that include luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogs and other androgen-suppressing drugs, notes the American Cancer Society. Hormone therapy has been shown to slow the growth of some tumors and help men live longer. However, it can lead to serious side effects, including death from heart disease, in some men, although not all studies have shown this. The success of these drugs varies, and disputes exist regarding whether hormone therapy is beneficial to those with early stage prostate cancer.

Most prostate cancers treated with hormone therapy become resistant to the therapy over a period of months or years, the American Cancer Society explains. Some doctors feel that treating a man before he has symptoms of cancer will cause resistance to the therapy before it helps.

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