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Treating prostate cancer with radiotherapy could save hundreds of lives

Published on 03/11/2011

Treating prostate cancer with radiotherapy as well as hormone therapy could save the lives of hundreds of men in the UK, a new study published in The Lancet Medical Journal has revealed.

Scientists studied 1,205 men with an average age of 69, all suffering from locally advanced prostate cancer- cancer which had grown outside the prostate gland but not spread any further. Half of these men were treated with standard hormone therapy, and the other half was given hormone therapy plus radiotherapy.

Hormone therapy reduces a man’s testosterone levels to virtually zero, a result which used to be achieved with castration. But it is difficult to surgically remove the cancer when it has spread to adjacent tissues.

After seven years, 74% of men given additional radiotherapy were still alive, compared to 66% of those given just hormone therapy. Among those in the hormone only group, 26% died from their prostate cancer, compared to 10% who received both treatments. In total, the study showed that patients receiving additional radiotherapy are 46% less likely to die of the disease.

Study leader Dr Matthew Sydes, from the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, said the results of this trial are “extremely encouraging.”

Experts predict that around 10,000 of the 38,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK are likely to have locally advanced cancers. If all these men received radiotherapy as well as hormone treatment, hundreds of lives could be saved each year.

The men in the trail are still being followed, but an independent data safety monitoring committee advised investigators to release the results early, ahead of the final analysis, because the results are so “startling”.

If you are looking for radiotherapy and chemotherapy to be covered by your private health insurance, make sure you choose a policy with full cancer cover. Full cancer cover will pay for the cost of all cancer treatments, and also give you access to new cancer drugs not approved for use on the NHS.

Compare health insurance policies online now to gain peace of mind about your future healthcare.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
Treating prostate cancer with radiotherapy could save hundreds of livesTreating prostate cancer with radiotherapy as well as hormone therapy could save the lives of hundreds of men in the UK, a new study publi    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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