Hormone therapy in combination with radiotherapy

Combining hormone therapy with radiotherapy is based on strong research evidence indicating that treatment results are improved in the case of medium and high-risk prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is usually started 2 to 3 months before radiotherapy. If there is a medium risk of the cancer recurring, 4 to 6 months of hormone therapy is sufficient. If there is a high risk of recurrence, hormone therapy may last up to 18 to 36 months.

The hormone therapy is administered before and during radiotherapy as injections. It blocks the production of testosterone (male hormone), which shrinks cancer cells and sensitizes them to radiotherapy. If the hormone therapy needs to be continued after the completion of radiotherapy, the injections may be continued or, alternatively, an antiandrogen such as bicalutamide can be taken in tablet form. This will block the effect of testosterone on the tissue level. Bicalutamide may cause the breasts to grow or become sore; to prevent this, patients receive a single session of radiation in the breast area.