Skip to main content
Parkridge Medical Center
Avg ER Wait
Checking ER Wait Time
The feed could not be reached

Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body to kill cancer cells. The side effects from chemotherapy occur because it destroys both normal cells and cancer cells.

While chemotherapy is not part of the standard treatment for prostate cancer, it may be used if other treatments are not effective.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

If you and your doctor decide that you are going to undergo chemotherapy, you most likely will take a drug called docetaxel, which is often combined with the steroid prednisone. If docetaxel does not work, your doctor may recommend cabazitaxel, a newer drug. These 2 drugs may help you to live longer, reduce your symptoms, and slow cancer growth. In addition to these 2 chemotherapy drugs, there are also many others that your doctor may recommend (mitoxantrone, estramustine, doxorubicin).

Unfortunately, there are many side effects associated with chemotherapy, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Weakened immune system
  • Fatigue

Newer Treatment Approaches

Targeted Therapies

Researchers continue to develop and study different strategies to slow or stop the growth of tumors. The drug cabozantinib, for instance, interferes with the process that cancer cells go through to create new blood vessels, which are needed for the cancer to grow. Cabozantinib is still being investigated. But, if you have advanced prostate cancer, you may be able to take this drug as part of a clinical trial.

Some of the side effects that have been reported include:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • A skin reaction called hand-foot syndrome

Immunotherapy is a drug treatment that aims to build your immune system so that you can better fight cancer cells. Sipuleucel-T is a type of immunotherapy that is approved to treat prostate cancer that has spread.

Some of the side effects include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Headache

Revision Information

  • Chemotherapy for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated September 4, 2012. Accessed September 20, 2012.

  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 3, 2014. Accessed September 20, 2012.

  • Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated September 13, 2012. Accessed September 20, 2012.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Parkridge Health System does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.