Prostate cancer deaths could be prevented with radiotherapy

Added 08/11/2010

Stethoscope on a book

A recent study has revealed that radiotherapy, in addition to hormone therapy, could help to prevent deaths in men that suffer from prostate cancer.

Tests were performed on 1,200 men that suffered from prostate cancer. All of the participants in the study were receiving hormone therapy as part of their treatment and they received radiotherapy five days a week over the course of around six weeks. The study revealed that radiotherapy was successful in cutting deaths by 43%.

The results of the study followed an 11 year trial, and the findings are encouraging for men that suffer from prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy helps men with prostate cancer, but it can’t always be relied upon. Sometimes if men with prostate cancer have been receiving hormone therapy over the course of a few years, the treatment becomes less effective.

Prof Malcolm Mason, who headed up the trial, commented on the encouraging findings: "These exciting results clearly show how radiotherapy increases survival for men with this type of prostate cancer. Currently, we estimate that around 40% of men like those in the trial are given radiotherapy in the UK, and we hope that, thanks to these results, more men will now be offered this important option."

Radiotherapy sometimes has bad press and it can present unwelcome side effects in men with prostate cancer, but some believe the good outweighs the bad.

Leading medical charity Cancer Research UK thought the findings of the prostate cancer study were encouraging. A spokesperson for the charity said: "This trial offers fresh hope to thousands of men with prostate cancer, preventing hundreds of deaths every year. Radiotherapy is sometimes an overlooked form of treatment, but this trial shows how vital it can be."