NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Prostate Cancer
Part 4: Overview of cancer treatments
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organ on top of each
kidney that makes
removes the testicles or
drugs that greatly reduce
the level of testosterone
A disease that
causes high levels of blood
condition of feeling intense
heat and body sweat for
short periods of time
A high amount of
body fat compared to body
that causes thinning,
White blood cell:
of blood cell that fights
The main focus of this booklet is on the treatment of prostate
cancer. However, supportive care is also very important. Supportive
care doesn’t aim to treat cancer but aims to improve quality of life.
Supportive care is given at any stage of cancer, but is often the main
type of care when the cancer is advanced. When used for advanced
cancers, supportive care is often called palliative care. Supportive care
can address many needs. Examples include treatment for physical and
emotional symptoms, help with treatment decisions, and coordination
of care between health providers. Talk with your treatment team to plan
the best supportive care for you.
Sipuleucel-T is a drug that uses your white blood cells to destroy prostate
cancer cells. In a lab, your white blood cells from a blood sample are changed
by a protein so they will recognize and destroy prostate cancer cells. Common
side effects of this drug includes chills, fever, nausea, and headache. These
effects don’t appear to last for long. Serious heart problems rarely occur.
Chemotherapy, or ‘chemo,’ is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Cell growth
is stopped by damaging DNA or disrupting the making of DNA. Chemotherapy
doesn’t work on cells in a resting phase. Since cancer cells grow fast,
chemotherapy can stop new cancer cells from being made.
Chemotherapy drugs for prostate cancer are liquids that are injected into a
vein. The drugs travel in the bloodstream to treat cancer throughout the body.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment days followed by days of rest.
This allows the body to recover before the next cycle. Cycles vary in length
depending on which drugs are used. Often, a cycle is 21 days long.