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Radiotherapy could form part of private medical cover treatments for prostate cancer

Published on 08/11/2010
Private medical cover holders who develop prostate cancer may increasingly look to their healthcare provider to supply radiotherapy to treat the disease following the results of a new trial.

Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council and National Cancer Institute of Canada found that survival rates among those with advanced prostate cancer are much more likely to survive if they receive radiotherapy hormone therapy.

The trial involved 1,200 men with locally advanced prostate cancer.

All of them received hormone therapy, a standard treatment given to men with the disease, while half also received radiotherapy.

It was found that 79 per cent of men who had hormone therapy alone were still alive after seven years, compared with 90 per cent of men who received both treatments.

Hormone therapy is used to control levels of testosterone, which prostate cancer relies on in order to grow.

While this treatment can successfully slow down or shrink the tumour, some men find the cancer stops responding and starts growing again after several years.

Professor Malcolm Mason, trial leader based at Cardiff University and Velindre Hospital and medical advisor to Cancer Research Wales, said: "Currently, we estimate that around 40 per cent 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."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is responsible for a quarter of newly diagnosed cases of cancer in England and Wales.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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