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Chemotherapy Options for Advanced Prostate Cancer

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Published on August 17, 2015

Prostate cancer expert Dr. Sumit Subudhi, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, reviews the currently approved chemotherapy treatment options for men with advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Subudhi explains how chemotherapy works in fighting cancer and dispels commonly held myths about side effects.

Sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network through an educational grant from Sanofi and an independent educational grant from Astellas and Medivation, Inc. Produced in association with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Transcript | Chemotherapy Options for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jeff Folloder:

Dr. Subudhi, let’s talk a little bit about chemotherapy.  And I say the word chemotherapy, and I’m invoking all the drama and gravitas that that brings in.  Chemotherapy is a big deal.  How does it work for advanced prostate cancer patients?

Dr. Subudhi:

So chemotherapy attacks rapidly dividing cells, especially the ones that are used in prostate cancer.

The two FDA-approved drugs that have been shown to improve overall survival in men with advanced prostate cancer are docetaxel (Taxotere) and cabazitaxel (Jevtana).  I believe the brand names are Taxotere and Jevtana.  And again, they work by attacking rapidly dividing cells.  Now, you’re right.  It does invoke a lot of anxiety and stress in our patients.

I think a lot of it has to do with the movies that we grew up watching, or sitcoms, where we see patients treated with chemotherapies have a bucket next to them, and they’re just throwing up.  If you’ve seen the movie “The Bucket List” and things like that, that’s the memory that people think of.  Or they remember their grandma getting chemotherapy for some other cancer, and they remember a lot of nausea and vomiting associated with it.

Now, these chemotherapies haven’t changed.  But what’s changed is our ability to handle nausea and vomiting.  In fact, a lot of our patients get pre-medications to help prevent nausea and vomiting, as well as—there are fortified drugs that have now been available since the 1980s that help prevent this.  So nausea and vomiting should not be a major issue anymore with the therapies, and so, therefore, tolerating chemotherapies should be a lot easier.   

Jeff Folloder:

So still gonna deal with hair loss and maybe some nausea but not quite so much. 

Dr. Subudhi:

That’s correct.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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