Radiation shows promise for prostate cancer patients

Results from a recent study show that patients with prostate cancer, that has spread beyond the prostate, have reportedly higher survival rates when radiation is used alongside traditional hormonal therapy.

These findings were announced on Sunday during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

It is estimated that at the time of diagnosis, nearly 20% of patients have a cancer that has already spread to other areas of the prostate; however, only half of them will opt for radiation as a form of treatment because it has been linked to urinary problems in prostate cancer patients. Patients currently are given a hormone therapy that blocks testosterone, the main culprit in the cancer’s growth.

In this clinical trial, 1,200 participants either received the just the hormone therapy, or a combination of hormones and radiation. During the seven year long study, the patients who received the radiation in conjunction with the hormones, lived six months longer, on average. At the conclusion, doctor’s reported that 74% of patients who received radiation were still alive, versus only 66% of the hormone only group. The incidence of side effects was also remarkably low, with only 2% of patients reporting serious problems during treatment.

Doctor’s now feel that radiation may be a valuable tool, along with hormones, in fighting a form of cancer that is many times considered incurable. It is estimated that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In the United States, prostate cancer claims the lives of approximately 27,360 patients annually.

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