FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Get answers to common questions about advanced prostate cancer and FIRMAGON®

Signs and Symptoms of APC

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer?

Signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
  • Pain in the hips, back, chest, or bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Weight loss
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Urinary problems, such as pain and burning, the urge to urinate more often (particularly at night), or a slow or weak urine stream

General facts about APC

Q: What is advanced prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is considered advanced when it breaches the prostate's border. As it advances, the cancer may also spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body. Men with advanced prostate cancer typically start treatment with hormone therapy.

Q: What causes advanced prostate cancer?

The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. However, several risk factors have been identified.

Age is the biggest risk. Nearly 60% of all prostate cancers happen in men over 65. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Genetic factors
  • Race
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
Q: Is prostate cancer more common in African American men?

Yes. Non-Hispanic black men are almost twice as likely as white men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Q: How is advanced prostate cancer diagnosed?

Samples of your prostate taken during a biopsy will be compared with normal tissue to determine something called the Gleason score. The higher the score, the more aggressive the cancer. In addition to Gleason Score, your doctor will determine the cancer's location, whether it has spread, and if it's interfering with any of your body's functions.

You will regularly have a blood test to check your PSA levels. This measures a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. If your PSA levels rise, it could mean that the cancer is progressing.

Imaging tests, such as a bone scan or MRI, may also be performed to determine if the cancer has spread.

Q: Is advanced prostate cancer painful?

Pain during urination or ejaculation may occur with advanced prostate cancer. People with advanced prostate cancer may also experience pain in the hips, back, chest, or bones. If you are experiencing pain, be sure to tell your doctor.

Q: Should I follow any special diet if I have advanced prostate cancer?

Small changes in your diet can lead to healthier living and maintaining overall health. Fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, are recommended. Try to reduce fats from red meat and dairy. Instead, choose fish, lean poultry, or plant-based proteins from nuts and beans. Before making changes to your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Q: Can I continue to exercise with advanced prostate cancer?

Yes, you can exercise as much as you are able. Walking, running, swimming, and cycling are all recommended. Always check with your doctor before you start exercising.

Q: Does advanced prostate cancer affect sexual function?

Most men taking treatment for advanced prostate cancer have reported erectile function problems and decreased sex drive.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects.

Treatment

Q: Can advanced prostate cancer be cured?

With advanced prostate cancer, a cure may not be possible. However, there are treatments that can help stop or slow the cancer's growth and spread, allowing many men to live with prostate cancer. You and your doctor will decide the best options for you.

Q: What are the treatment options for advanced prostate cancer?

Surgery and/or radiation are considered initial treatment options for cancer contained in the prostate. Radiation is also an option when cancer has spread outside the prostate. Hormone therapy (or androgen deprivation therapy) is a recommended treatment option for advanced prostate cancer.

Q: What is the role of testosterone in advanced prostate cancer?

Testosterone is a male hormone produced by the testicles. When a man has prostate cancer, testosterone may fuel the tumor's growth.

Q: What is hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer?

Hormone therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), is designed to reduce the amount of testoterone in the body as much as possible. The goal of hormone therapy is to reach "castrate" levels of testosterone. This means that testosterone levels are as low as they would be if the testicles were surgically removed.

Q: How long will I be on hormone therapy?

Men often remain on hormone therapy for months, years, or for the rest of their lives. It is possible that other treatments may be added as well. Your doctor will decide how long you will stay on therapy.

FIRMAGON® (degarelix for injection)

Q: What is FIRMAGON?

FIRMAGON, or degarelix, is a hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer that quickly lowers testosterone levels—by nearly 90% on the first day of treatment. Click here to see study results.

Q: Is FIRMAGON a hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer?

Yes, FIRMAGON is a type of hormone therapy known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). There are two different kinds of ADT—agonist and antagonist. Agonists (like Lupron Depot®) cause an initial increase in testosterone followed by an eventual decrease. FIRMAGON is the only antagonist, and it works directly to immediately drop testosterone. Click here to see the difference.

Lupron Depot is a registered trademark of ABBVIE ENDOCRINE INC.

Q: How does FIRMAGON work in advanced prostate cancer?

FIRMAGON works directly to block a series of hormones and reactions in the body that make testosterone.

Q: Is FIRMAGON different from other hormone therapies for advanced prostate cancer?

Yes. FIRMAGON works differently than all other hormone therapies. FIRMAGON works as an “antagonist” that blocks testosterone production at its main source.

Q: Why did my doctor prescribe FIRMAGON instead of another hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer?

In clincial studies, FIRMAGON reduced testosterone castrate levels quickly. Patients on FIRMAGON reached their treatment goal in as little as 3 days, dropping T by 88%, on average, on day 1. FIRMAGON also eliminates the chance of an initial surge in testosterone. This surge can worsen clinical symptoms or cause the need for additional treatments.

Q: How is FIRMAGON given?

FIRMAGON is given as in injection in your belly below the skin (subcutaneous). Click to see more on how FIRMAGON is given.

Q: How often will I receive my FIRMAGON injection?

The injection is given at your doctor’s office once a month.

Q: What are the most common side effects of FIRMAGON?

Common side effects of FIRMAGON include:

  • Injection site pain, redness, and swelling
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in some liver enzymes
  • Fatigue

Click to see FIRMAGON ISI.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects.

Q: What can I expect after my FIRMAGON injection?

People taking FIRMAGON most often reported pain, redness, or swelling around the area of the injection. It is normal to feel a small lump where you receive the injection. You can help avoid any discomfort by wearing loose-fitting clothing, icing the injection site, and not touching the area. Click here to learn about post-injection care.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects.

Support

Q: What do I need to know if my loved one has advanced prostate cancer?

Your loved one may be experiencing many symptoms. Some of them are physical while others are psychological or emotional.

Some of the physical symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include pain, weakness, numbness, or difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED).

Many men also experience feeling afraid, angry, sad, and anxious after receiving their diagnosis. Click to our support page for resources on where to find support.

Q: If my loved one has advanced prostate cancer, how can I help?

Many men report feeling afraid, angry, sad, and anxious after receiving their diagnosis. However, they are not alone. Over 150,000 men every year are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Encourage your loved one to join a support group. This can help provide knowledge, encouragement, and emotional comfort with people who understand what he is going through. Help is also available at zerocancer.org. For help with FIRMAGON treatment, sign up for FIRMAGON CONNECT.

Q: Where can I find support for advanced prostate cancer?

Visit pcf.org and zerocancer.org to learn more about support groups.

Q: Where can I find more information about advanced prostate cancer?

There are many resources available for people with advanced prostate cancer. Besides your doctor, the American Cancer Society and Prostate Cancer Foundation have many support resources. Check out cancer.org and pcf.org to learn more.

Q: What are some advanced prostate cancer forums?

There are many online forums where you can find resources and support from peers.
Below are some of the most popular advanced prostate cancer forums:

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