Possible Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy Emotional Changes?

Will I have hormone therapy emotional changes?

Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy Emotional ChangesAdvanced prostate cancer doesn’t always have the same treatment options as early stage prostate cancer. Early stage prostate cancer is often treated with surgery and radiation. These treatments have side-effects of their own, such as impotence and incontinence. Advanced prostate cancer must be treated with other techniques, and thus has different side effects.

One of the most effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer is hormone therapy. Hormone therapy reduces the amount of testosterone a man produces. Many men are concerned that the treatment will have an effect on their emotional state because of this reduction in testosterone. This treatment does have many side effects that have impact on a man’s quality of life. These side effects include reduced libido or sexual drive, muscle wasting and fatigue.

Beyond this, the side effects also have psychological impacts on men. Men sometimes report not feeling as “sharp” or on top of things as they once were, however there is currently no research that suggests this can be directly linked to the treatment. Instead, it seems to be more closely tied to the fact that many of these men are already older, which is linked to these kinds of mental behaviors. Depressive moods are not uncommon for men undergoing hormone therapy. Dr. Dayyani believes it’s important to help his patients cope with these side effects so that they can complete the therapy.

Farshid Dayyani:  Many men are concerned about their emotional state when the physicians suggest they should start on hormone deprivation therapy. Hormone therapy, meaning reducing the serum testosterone levels is the most effective upfront treatment for advanced prostate cancer but on the other hand has many significant side effects that will impact the patients’ quality of life.  These include reduced libido, decreased sexual drive, sexual dysfunction, muscle wasting and fatigue and all the side effects though do have psychological impact on the patients, so it is not uncommon to see some depressive mood in the men who were started on androgen deprivation therapy.

There is an association of cognitive defects in men on androgen deprivation meaning they are not as sharp as they used to be or they think their thinking has slowed down, but so far research has not been able to prove there is a direct cause link between androgen deprivation and these changes in emotional and neurocognitive state because a lot of men are at advanced age which in itself is associated with these changes.  So, rather than directly causing depressive mood or changes in emotional state, I think coping with the side effects of this and helping the patient through coping with those side effects will help with stabilizing his emotional state and continuing treatment.

Farshid Dayyani
Dr. Dayyani earned his medical degree in Munich, Germany at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet before completing his internal medicine internship and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.
Farshid Dayyani

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