The pros, or advantages, of chemotherapy for prostate cancer have to do with the fact that the chemotherapy does an effective job of destroying tumors and harmful cells in the body. Cons, or disadvantages, of chemotherapy for prostate cancer have to do with the fact that chemotherapy can potentially destroy healthy cells and tissue as well. Thus, as a prostate cancer treatment, chemotherapy is very much a double-edged sword due to the fact that it can be helpful and harmful at the same time.
Of note, not so long ago, chemotherapy was not seen as being an effective treatment for prostate cancer. In recent years, researchers have found that one of the pros of chemotherapy for prostate cancer is that the chemotherapy drugs such as doxorubicin, estramustine phosphate, stoposide, mitoxantrone, vinblastine, paclitaxel, or docetaxel can reduce painful symptoms of advanced cases of prostate cancer. This extends patients’ lives and improves patient quality of life.
Another advantage of chemotherapy for prostate cancer includes the fact that the dosage of chemotherapy can be adjusted depending on what a prostate cancer patient needs. In addition, chemotherapy can be done on an outpatient basis. This means prostate cancer patients need not stay overnight in a hospital to receive the treatment.
One of the disadvantages is that although chemotherapy can slow the growth of the cancer, the chemotherapy does not always cure prostate cancers. Chemotherapy kills healthy cells in addition to killing cancer cells and there are side effects, such as hair loss, appetite loss, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores due to damage done to the digestive tract. Additional negative symptoms include becoming more prone to infection due to depletion of white blood cells, tiredness, and having increased tendency toward bruising, bleeding, and potentially internal bleeding. There could also be side effects such as headache, neuropathy, tinnitus, visual disturbance, confusion, and depression.
Physicians do advise patients to drink a sufficient amount of water, consume sufficient high-fiber foods, and avoid acidic drinks and alcohol while they are undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Also, there are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can reduce constipation or diarrhea symptoms. Altering diet, taking medication, and using a soft toothbrush can lessen the severity of the side effects of chemotherapy for prostate cancer; however, the negative side effects do nonetheless occur. In fact, side effects should be reported to a patient's physician as soon as possible.