What Happens When Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer Stops Working?

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Faster Prostate Cancer Treatment

When hormone treatment for prostate cancer stops working or if a man cannot tolerate the side effects of hormone treatment, rest assured, there are treatment alternatives available.

But before we talk about alternatives to hormone treatment for prostate cancer, let’s talk about why it can fail or why a man may decide to stop using hormone treatment. 


Side Effects of Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer

While hormone therapy does slow the progression of the disease, it also causes life-altering side effects in some cases. Those can include: erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, hot flashes, weight gain, heart problems, cognitive issues and even osteoporosis, according to the National Cancer Institute.

There are medications to combat side effects, and lifestyle changes, like exercising, may help too.  

However, some men – along with their – doctor’s help may decide to look for different treatment modalities.


Why Does Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer Stop Working?

For men who choose hormone therapy and stick with it, the treatment may ultimately fail. 

Here’s why: Prostate cancers in early stages feed on male hormones – or androgens to grow. That’s why prostate cancer patients are often prescribed hormone therapies in the first place — to lower the level of those androgens and stop or slow the growth of prostate cancer.  However, most prostate cancers ultimately become what’s called castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and stop responding to hormone therapy.

Doctors cannot predict when hormone therapy will stop working in patients. It could be only months or take years.  Regular PSA testing help doctors see if the cancer started growing again.

If that happens, there is hope with other treatments.


Treatments for CRPC or Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancer

If hormone therapy stops working, doctors and patients look to the following prostate cancer treatment alternatives:

  • Complete Androgen Blockade: This blocks all male hormone activity with medication or surgery.
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical Trial Alternatives 
  • Radiation Therapy

Prostate Cancer Radiation with CyberKnife

One form of radiation that can help men with CRPC is with CyberKnife – an extremely precise form of external beam radiation called stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT.

CyberKnife can be used as a sole treatment in early stages of the disease, but it can also be used in combination with other treatments if necessary, during early stages or as the disease progresses. And it can be an option for CRPC.

According to a case study from November of 2020, a 69-year-old man with urethral metastasis of CRPC (hormone-resistant prostate cancer that spread to the urethra) had CyberKnife treatment with no adverse effects. 

“There has been no recurrence for 50 months. To the best of our knowledge, there are no cases of urethral metastasis of the CRPC successfully controlled with CyberKnife radiosurgery currently in the literature.” according to the abstract.


The CyberKnife Advantage

CyberKnife has some distinct advantages over other forms of radiation for prostate cancer, including CRPC. It can destroy prostate tumors while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue virtually unharmed.

    • It is noninvasive. 
    • There is no anesthesia or cutting. 
  • Clinical experience shows most patients do well with CyberKnife treatment, with cure rates of more than 98% for more than a decade.
  • CyberKnife treatments can be done in five therapy sessions over 10 days instead of 42 over three months with other types of radiation treatments.
  • There is less risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence.
  • CyberKnife can be a radiation treatment option even for patients who have had radiation in the past or in the event of a recurrence.

At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, we have successfully treated hundreds of prostate cancer patients from across the country and right here in South Florida with excellent results. Patients also travel here from the Caribbean and other countries where CyberKnife isn’t available or just because they want one of the most experienced CyberKnife teams in the world and that is us at CyberKnife Miami. We are among those treating patients with CyberKnife the longest, so we are not afraid to take on even the most difficult cases.

Our promise is to make this process as easy, quick, and effective as possible for you.

There are no long waits, long hallways or mazes to go through. You pull into our parking lot and walk right into our center. We are there to greet you and get you started on your journey. We are a free-standing cancer treatment center. Anyone can come here from anywhere for treatment. 

Our goal is to partner with you and your family through the process. We help you with every aspect, from tests, to scans, to insurance, to keep it as simple as possible, so you can get back to your life and put cancer behind you. 

If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now.