Adjunctive Therapy

What Is Adjunctive Therapy?

Prostate Cancer Advice. Credit: Yvonne Hemsey / Contributor / Getty Images

Adjunctive therapy refers to any treatment that is used in conjunction with another to increase the chance of cure, or to increase the first treatment's efficacy. In other words, adjunctive therapy acts as an aid to the primary treatment.

Adjunctive therapy is often used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate — a small gland that makes seminal fluid.

It is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows over time and in the beginning usually stays within the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that is caught early has a better chance of successful treatment.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer treatment options depend on several things, from how fast the cancer is growing to how much it has spread.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. Side effects can include painful urination, frequent urination and urgent urination, as well as rectal symptoms, such as loose stools or pain when passing stools. Erectile dysfunction can also occur.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is treatment to precent your body from producing the male hormone testosterone.

Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the supply of hormones may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.

Side effects of hormone therapy may include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, loss of bone mass, reduced sex drive and weight gain.

Surgery to remove the prostate

Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy), some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes.

 

Radical prostatectomy carries a risk of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. 

Freezing prostate tissue

Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered through a vein in your arm, in pill form or both.

Chemotherapy may be a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has spread to distant areas of their bodies. Chemotherapy may also be an option for cancers that don't respond to hormone therapy.

Biological therapy

Biological therapy, also called immunotherapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer cells. One type of biological therapy called sipuleucel-T (Provenge) has been developed to treat advanced, recurrent prostate cancer.

This treatment takes some of your own immune cells, genetically engineers them in a laboratory to fight prostate cancer, then injects the cells back into your body through a vein.

Reference:

Mayo Clinic. Prostate Cancer. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/basics/definition/con-20029597

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