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If you have advanced prostate cancer that has not responded to hormonal therapy (castration-resistant prostate cancer), you be wondering whether to try Provenge for your cancer.
Provenge is a novel treatment for advanced prostate cancer that is made by Dendreon. Rather than a chemotherapy or hormone therapy, Provenge is an immunotherapy. This means that Provenge helps your body’s own immune system recognize and fight your prostate cancer. Unlike other advanced prostate cancer treatments, PSA levels may not drop with treatment.
Talk with your doctor
The first step in answering the question of how to get Provenge is a discussion with your doctor. You might want to consider the following questions:
- Based on my symptoms and history, do you think Provenge is right for me?
- What are the advantages of Provenge for me?
- What are the side effects of Provenge?
- How is Provenge given to me?
- Do I need any other tests before I get Provenge?
- What is the cost of Provenge?
- Does your office administer Provenge? If not, can you refer me to a provider who does administer Provenge?
How to get Provenge—what is the cost?
While the total cost of Provenge is more than $90,000, Provenge is covered by most insurance and Dendreon is committed to making sure patients who need financial assistance get it. According to the Provenge website, 75% of patients who qualify for Provenge treatment will have little or no out-of-pocket expenses for their care.
For the other 25% of patients, the Dendreon patient assistance programs can help cover costs in excess of what your insurance will pay, required co-pays, and coinsurance. For patients without insurance or demonstrating a certain financial need, Provenge may be provided free of charge.
How to get Provenge—what happens next?
After you and your doctor have decided Provenge is right for you and you have worked out how you will pay for your treatment, it is important to understand the mechanics of your Provenge treatment.
Most Provenge treatments consist of three cycles, two weeks apart. Each cycle consists of two visits: one visit to collect your cells and a second to receive your Provenge infusion.
In your first visit, your immune cells are collected and then sent to the company’s manufacturing facility to create your personalized dose of Provenge. This facility will take place at a blood center that is trained to remove the immune cells used to make the Provenge treatment.
In the second visit (about 3 days after your first visit), you will get the Provenge infusion. It normally takes about 2 hours for you to receive this infusion.
Keeping your appointments is really important when you are receiving the Provenge treatment. Your Provenge infusion is made specifically for you and will expire if not used in the appropriate time frame. If you miss your appointment, you may need to start the cycle over again. The following tips are recommended before your cell collection visit:
- Stay well hydrated and increase your water intake for the 2-3 days before your cell collection visit.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages and eat a good breakfast on the day of your cell collection.
- Wear comfortable clothes and short sleeves or long sleeves that can easily be raised above the elbow.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home since you will likely feel tired after your cell collection.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Provenge website. Accessed April 28, 2013.