NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Prostate Cancer - page 39

39
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Prostate Cancer
Version 1.2014
Part 4: Overview of cancer treatments
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Notes:
The side effects of chemotherapy can differ between people. Some people have
many side effects. Others have few. Some side effects can be very serious while
others can be unpleasant but not serious. Side effects of chemotherapy depend
on the drug type, amount taken, length of treatment, and the person.
In general, side effects are caused by the death of fast-growing normal cells.
These cells are found in the gut, mouth, and blood. Thus, common side effects
of chemotherapy include low blood cell counts, not feeling hungry, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and mouth sores. Please ask your treatment team
for a complete list of known common and rare side effects.
4.7 Radiopharmaceuticals
Radiopharmaceuticals are drugs that contain a radioactive substance.
Radium-223 is a radiopharmaceutical that is injected into the body to treat
prostate cancer that has spread to the bone. Since the chemical makeup of
radium-223 is similar to calcium, it travels to bone damaged by cancer. Once
it reaches the bone, it delivers radiation that kills the nearby cancer cells. The
radiation doesn’t travel far so healthy tissue is spared. However, the main side
effect is diarrhea.
89Sr (strontium-89) and 153Sm (Samarium-153) also are radiopharmaceuticals.
They haven’t been shown to extend life. However, they may relieve pain caused
by cancer metastases in the bone. They also may cause a decrease in the
number of blood cells.
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