Questions to Ask Your Doctor: If Your PSA is Rising During Hormone Therapy

In some men, PSA levels will rise during hormone therapy.  If this happens to you, this may be a sign that your cancer has become resistant to this form of treatment. Recurrent prostate cancer is a major area of research, and new treatments are being developed all the time.  Now is the time for a thorough discussion with your doctor, to assess the situation and explore other treatment options as needed.  Here are some questions to ask your doctor.

  • Since my PSA is rising again, do we discontinue the androgen deprivation therapy?
  • Are there additional hormone therapy approaches that we should explore?
  • Should I get blood tests and a bone scan to determine if the cancer has spread to my bones?
  • Is there evidence that the cancer has spread to my bones? If so, how can we treat it, slow down the progression or prevent bone pain?
  • Is it important to consider the sequencing of treatment options so that we can preserve as many options as possible in the future?
  • Should we consider chemotherapy?
  • Are there other clinical trials of investigational drugs that might help slow down the disease progression?
  • What are the side effects of the treatment plan that we are considering?
  • Are there dietary changes I can make to optimize my treatment? What is the ideal exercise program?
  • Are there any other specialists whom we should add to my treatment team to gain an additional perspective on treating my disease?
  • Should I consider joining a clinical trial? How do they work, and how do I find out about them?

Terms to know from this article:

Hormone

A chemical made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs. Some hormones can also be made in a laboratory.

androgen

A type of hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

Bone scan

A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.

Progression

Increase in the size of a tumor or spread of cancer in the body.

PSA

prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.