Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer: Types, Effectiveness

Hormone therapy is a common treatment for advanced prostate cancer or cancer that has returned after treatment. Hormone therapy can involve taking medications or surgically removing your testicles.

Prostate cancer develops in the walnut-shaped gland in your pelvis,, which produces fluid to help nourish and transport sperm. Hormone therapy is a prostate cancer treatment that removes hormones that cancer cells need to grow.

Hormone therapy is often used along with other treatments to treat advanced prostate cancer or cancer that has reoccurred after previous treatment.

Read on to learn more about hormone therapy, including how it works, when it’s used, and what side effects it can cause.

How does hormone therapy for prostate cancer work?

Cancer de la prostate requires male sex hormones called androgens to grow. Hormone therapy lowers levels of androgens in your body to stop growth of cancer.

Hormone therapy may involve:

  • chirurgie
  • medications
  • taking synthetic hormones

When is hormone therapy for prostate cancer used?

Doctors use hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer in the following situations:

  • with external beam radiothérapie for stage 2–4 prostate cancer
  • with or without radiation therapy for stage 3 prostate cancer
  • for stage 4 prostate cancer or prostate cancer that has returned

Researchers are also investigating if hormone therapy improves the outcome of stage 2 prostate cancer when given before other treatments.

Types of hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Here are some of the types of hormone therapy doctors use to treat prostate cancer:


Orchiectomy, or surgical castration, is the permanent removal of your testicles. It reduces levels of testosterone in your blood by as much as 95%.

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists

LHRH agonists work by preventing your pituitary gland from secreting luteinizing hormone (LH). LH stimulates the production of testosterone from your testes. LHRH agonists include:

  • leuprolide (Eligard, Lupron Depot)
  • buserelin (Suprefact, Suprecur)
  • goserelin (Zoladex and others)

Treatment with LHRH is called chemical castration.

LHRH antagonists

LHRH antagonists work by blocking LHRH from binding with your pituitary gland and preventing the production of LH. Two LHRH antagonists are FDA-approved in the United States. The medication degarelix (Firmagon) is administered by injection, while you take relugolix (Orgovyx) orally.

Antiandrogen therapies

A number of antiandrogen medications may be useful if other treatments aren’t effective.

  • androgen receptor blockers, which bind to androgen receptors to block the action of androgen
  • androgen synthesis inhibitors to prevent androgen production by your tissues. These medications include:
  • abiraterone (Zytiga, Yonsa)
  • ketoconazole (Nizoral and others)
  • aminoglutethimide (Elipten, Cytadren, Orimeten)


Estrogen can inhibit testosterone production in your testicles. However, it isn’t a common treatment due to potential side effects.

How effective is hormone therapy for prostate cancer?

Hormone therapy is usually among the first treatments doctors use for advanced prostate cancer. The development of hormonal therapies led to a drastic decline in prostate cancer deaths in the mid-1990s.

Hormone therapy by itself doesn’t cure prostate cancer, but it can shrink the cancer or make it grow slower. Many cancers become resistant to hormone therapy over time.

Risks and side effects of hormone therapy shots for prostate cancer

Hormone therapy can cause side effects, such as:

  • low-sex drive
  • hot flashes
  • dysérection
  • loss of bone density or easy fractures
  • loss of muscle mass and strength
  • changes in your cholesterol levels
  • weight gain
  • mood swings
  • insulin resistance
  • fatigue
  • development of breast tissues
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • diarrhée
  • éruptions cutanées
  • itchiness
  • liver damage (for the medication flutamide)

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer procedures

Hormone therapy may be administered as surgery, oral medications, or injections.


An orchiectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia to send you to sleep during your procedure. Your surgeon will make an incision in your scrotum or the area above your pubic bone to access your testicles.

They will then clamp your spermatic cords to prevent bleeding before detaching your testicles and removing them. You may receive prosthetic testicles before your surgeon closes your wounds with stitches.

Oral medications

If you receive oral medications such as relugolix, you’ll take these medications at home as prescribed.

Médicaments injectés

Injections can be administered at a treatment center or your doctor’s office. Some people are taught to give their own injections. Your injection frequency depends on your medication.

For example, buserelin is injected three times a day for 1 week and then taken as a nasal spray.

Preparing for hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Specific preparation may not be required if you’re taking hormone therapy medication. Before orchiectomy, you’ll likely need blood tests and other tests to make sure you’re in good enough overall health for surgery.

If you’re receiving general anesthesia, you’ll have to stop eating about 6 hours before your procedure and drinking about 2 hours before.

Recovering from hormone therapy for prostate cancer

It can take up to a couple of weeks after an orchiectomy for your wounds to heal. You’ll need to avoid strenuous activity for about 6 weeks.

cost of hormone therapy for prostate cancer

The cost of an orchiectomy can vary based on factors like your geographic location and your surgeon’s experience. For reference, the non-profit organization FAIR Health estimates that 80% of orchiectomy procedures in Logan, Utah, cost less than $20,469, including hospital and anesthesia costs.

The cost of drug and hormone therapies varies depending on your medication. In a 2023 study, researchers estimated the 10-year cost anywhere from $34,349 to $658,928.

If the treatment is deemed medically necessary, parts of it will likely be covered by insurance.

Alternative treatments for prostate cancer

Other treatments for prostate cancer include:

  • observation or active surveillance alone, where your cancer is monitored but no particular treatment is administered.
  • chirurgie
  • radiothérapie
  • chimiothérapie
  • immunotherapy
  • targeted drugs
  • ablation therapies that use extreme heat or cold, such as:
  • cryotherapy
  • high-intensity focused ultrasound
  • la thérapie photodynamique

Frequently asked questions about hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Here are some frequently asked questions people have about hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

What stage of prostate cancer requires hormone treatment?

Hormone therapy is used to treat stage 2–4 prostate cancer. It can also treat cancers that return after previous treatment.

How long can someone stay on hormone therapy for prostate cancer?

You may have hormone therapy for anywhere from 4 months to about 3 years or more for people with metastatic prostate cancer. An orchiectomy is a one-time procedure.

Can hormone therapy cure prostate cancer?

Hormone therapy can help make other treatments more effective, but it doesn’t cure prostate cancer by itself.

What is life like after hormone therapy for prostate cancer?

Lowering androgens can cause changes to your body, such as problems sleeping, the development of breast swelling, and the loss of muscle. Your doctor can help you develop ways to reduce these symptoms.


Your cancer team can best advise you if you may benefit from hormonal therapy. They can also recommend which type of hormone therapy is best for you.

5 commentaires

  1. This is a very informative post! Understanding the different types of hormone treatments available for prostate cancer and their effectiveness is crucial for anyone navigating this condition. It’s great to see a detailed breakdown that can help patients and their families make more informed decisions. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  2. This is a very informative post! Hormone treatment can be a crucial part of managing prostate cancer. It’s great to see the different types and their effectiveness outlined clearly. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  3. This article provides an insightful overview of the various hormone treatments available for prostate cancer, detailing their types and effectiveness. It’s encouraging to see the advances being made in this field, offering hope and options for those impacted by this condition. Thank you for sharing such valuable information!

  4. This is a highly relevant and informative post. Hormone treatment is a crucial aspect of prostate cancer management, and understanding the different types and their effectiveness can significantly aid patients and caregivers in making informed decisions. Thank you for shedding light on this topic!

  5. This is a highly informative post on a crucial topic. Understanding the different types of hormone treatments available for prostate cancer is essential for patients and caregivers. It’s reassuring to see detailed information on the effectiveness of each treatment option, aiding in more informed decision-making. Keep up the great work in spreading awareness and knowledge about cancer treatments!

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *