Bone health is a very important part of prostate cancer treatment for men on androgen deprivation therapy. The injections given to treat the cancer have an anti-testosterone effect, and low testosterone is a well-known cause of osteoporosis in men. The hormone therapy causes bone mineral density loss and increases fracture incidence; therefore, it is recommended that all men on hormone therapy be on a calcium and vitamin D supplement daily.
In addition to this, we recommend treatment with either Fosamax, Prolia, or Xgeva based on whether or not the cancer has spread to the bone. If there is bone metastasis, monthly injections of Xgeva are required for the first year and then every three months thereafter. If there is no spread to the bone, then patients can elect to either get an injection once every six months (Prolia), or take an oral medication once a week (Fosamax).
The emotional side of cancer is not discussed as often as the physical effects, but it is not something to be overlooked. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be difficult and stressful for patients and their families; therefore, Urology Centers of Alabama has established a referral relationship with Mr. Butch Williams to enable our patients to better cope with the disease. Mr. Williams is involved in pastoral care at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church and is a prostate cancer survivor himself.
However, one does not have to be a particular denomination or even religious to benefit from this service. Sometimes it just helps to talk with someone who has undergone similar experiences. Mr. Williams serves as a compassionate presence and is there to offer comfort, not convert you to a particular religious belief. Studies show that your emotional well-being can affect your cancer treatment and progress. We want to ensure that not only are our patients’ physical needs being met, but their emotional and spiritual ones as well.
Studies show that one of the best ways to take care of yourself is to maintain an active lifestyle, and this is especially important for men with prostate cancer. One of the primary treatments for prostate cancer is hormone therapy which works by lowering a man’s testosterone level. Although this helps suppress the cancer, it puts men at risk for muscle mass and bone density loss and increases the risk of a cardiovascular event.There are numerous benefits to physical activity. Not only does it help control weight and improve your cardiovascular health, but it also is beneficial for your bone health, energy, and mood. Urology Centers of Alabama is very excited to have partnered with the Shades Valley YMCA to address this issue. We have developed a fitness program aimed to improve the side effects of hormone therapy, and the Y is graciously allowing our patients to participate in this 12-week program free of charge.
As part of the program, you will have a 1-hour initial consultation with a health coach to assess your baseline fitness level and address your specific needs. You will then have several one-on-one sessions with a trainer and develop an exercise routine geared at improving your cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. At the end of 12 weeks, you will have a post-assessment to evaluate your progress, and hopefully, will have developed an exercise regimen that you can continue on your own. Numerous studies have shown that exercise boosts outcomes and survival for prostate cancer patients. In clinical trials, men assigned to exercise training had less fatigue when completing activities of daily living, reported a higher quality of life, and improved their muscle strength when compared to control groups. Furthermore, new research suggests that prostate cancer men who lead active lifestyles have better survival rates than those who do not.
Nutrition is also an important component to prostate cancer health. Unhealthy diets that are high in red meat, cheese, and sugar might be linked to higher risk of death from cancer. We are dedicated to seeing that our patients follow a well-balanced diet. We also know that prostate cancer patients have the potential to lose weight and become deficient in several nutrients as they go through this process. Therefore, we check complete metabolic profiles to make sure our patients are nutritionally sound. Based on these results, we might recommend supplements or prescription medications. We also have a nutritionist to whom we refer our patients if needed.