Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is a terrifying experience and is one of the most common forms of cancer among men. When a person is struggling with prostate cancer they will be offered two different types of treatment, generally speaking. The first is often hormone therapy and the other is chemotherapy. Both of these choices can be scary. Neither of which sounds appealing to most people, this is why you may wish to pose the question: what is Provenge?

What Is Provenge?

It is a unique treatment for prostate cancer that has the health community excited about the future of cancer therapy in general. Provenge is a revolutionary form of treatment for prostate cancer in the effect it uses a person’s immune system to attack the cancer. It delays and often even halts tumor growth. Provenge is an FDA approved treatment for some men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that is in the advanced stages.

How Does Provenge Work?

If you’re thinking about using this treatment you will want to know more than just what is Provenge. It is most likely very important to you to understand what this will do to your body and how it will help you to fight off the cancer that you are suffering from. Provenge is a breakthrough treatment because it is the first treatment that stimulates a patient’s own immune system to attack prostate cancer.

What Is A Provenge Treatment Like?

A Provenge treatment will run over the course of approximately two weeks. The patient will receive three doses or infusions during this time. At the beginning of the treatment the patient will have their blood drawn and their white blood cells taken from it. This will allow the therapy to be formed to their specific immune system and blood. After a period of incubation the cells will be placed back in the bloodstream and this will create a chain effect causing the immune system to get boosted and start attacking the prostate cancer.

How Is A Provenge Treatment Given?

This isn’t a drug that will be swallowed orally and yet it isn’t nearly as intrusive as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. It is given through an IV. Each IV transfusion will be preceded by a cell collection. This is called Luekapheresis.  During the treatment period a patient must do everything within their power to stick to their schedule. Missing one treatment can mean going through another cell collection period. Since the collection process can take 3-4 hours it can be a big hassle and also uncomfortable for the patient undergoing treatment.

How Does Provenge Work?

First a patient’s white blood cells will be collected, then they will be exposed to an antigen that is specific to the prostrate.  After this they are incubated for a time period and then they will be injected back into the patient’s blood stream. Once inside, the antigen instructs the patient’s system to start attacking the prostate cancer. What is Provenge? It is part immune booster, part cancer antigen. It is the personalized combination of your white blood cells and the proteins in the drug that makes your own dose and treatment. Because of its truly individualized nature it has a good chance of successfully treating the illness.

How Is Provenge Different From Other Treatments?

Unlike chemotherapy or hormonal treatments,  Provenge is a unique treatment that is individualized to a specific patient. It’s the first among a whole new line of therapeutic treatments that use cellular immunotherapy. It is personalized, making use of each person’s individual white blood cells. There is a lot of talk about the future of this type of therapy.

What If Other Treatments Haven’t Worked?

Because Provenge is uniquely formed to each patient it stands a much greater chance of actually working for them.  This may mean if you’ve undergone chemotherapy or hormone replacement and haven’t seen great results that this is the ideal treatment for you to try. There has been quite a bit of success simply because it is such a unique treatment and is individualized to a person’s specific white blood cells.

Who Is Provenge For?

If you’re asking yourself what is Provenge, then you have a good chance of benefiting from this treatment. It is for men who have not responded well to hormone treatment and are struggling with metastic prostate cancer. It is ideal for those who don’t have much pain and still maintain efficient organ function.

What Are Some Side Effects Of Provenge?

Some patients who helped in the initial study of what is Provenge experienced chills, fatigue, back pain, fever, nausea, headaches and joint pain. There were also some patients who experienced hypertension, vomiting, dizziness and difficulty breathing. While these are not all of the possible side effects if you are concerned about some of the possibilities you should bring it up with your doctor so that you have a clear understanding of some of the problems you may come up against.

How Should I Bring This Treatment Up With My Doctor?

The first step is to simply ask your doctor, what is Provenge? They should be able to answer this quickly and be excited to let you know about the latest treatments that are available. From this stand point you’ll also know if you’re an ideal candidate for this new treatment. Do some reading on your own so that you’ll be properly informed when you first pose the question, what is Provenge?

How Is Provenge Different From A Vaccine?

Because of the way the treatment uses your own immune system to target prostate cancer many people refer to it as a vaccine. First, you must understand what is Provenge? Provenge is a vaccine used to treat cancer after a person has been diagnosed with it. Polio vaccines and other vaccines are used to stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize a disease when it enters and attack it then; therefore it is a preventative measure. Because this is used when a person has cancer it is considered a treatment and not a preventative measure.