Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to stop tumor growth by destroying cancer cells and/or preventing them from rapidly growing and dividing. Chemotherapy is typically reserved for patients whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate and may be given with hormone therapy or after hormone therapy stops working. While chemotherapy does not cure prostate cancer, it has been shown to reduce symptoms and prolong life for patients with advanced disease, or metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Chemotherapy is given as an injection for six, three-week long cycles of treatment. Below is a list of common chemotherapy drugs:

  • Taxotere (Docetaxel)
  • Javtana (Cabazitaxel)
  • Novantron (Mitoxantrone)
  • Emcyt (Estramustine)

Side Effects

Chemotherapy drugs target cancer cells by attacking cells that grow and divide quickly. Unfortunately, there are other cells in the body that can also be affected, including, red blood cells in the bone marrow, hair follicles, and cells in the mouth and intestines.  The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type and dose of drug given. These side effects are usually temporary and go away after treatment.  Some common side effects include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Mouth Sores
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair Loss
  • Low White Blood Cell Count
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Weakness/numbness in fingers and toes

What I know now I wish I knew before…getting checked early can save your life.

~John Sharp, prostate cancer survivor

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