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Radiation Added to Anti Androgen Hormone Therapy Increases Survival for Men With Prostate Cancer E-mail
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For men with locally advanced prostate cancer the addition of radiation treatment to anti-androgen hormone therapy reduces the risk of dying of prostate cancer by 50 percent compared to those who have anti-androgen hormone treatment alone, according to a randomized study presented September 22, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

"This randomized trial is the first to show that men with locally advanced prostate cancerwill survive substantially longer when radiation is added to their treatment plan," Anders Widmark, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor in radiation oncology at Umea University in Umea, Sweden, said. "I would encourage men with locally advanced prostate cancer to talk to their doctor to see if they would be a good candidate for radiation therapy in addition to hormone treatment."

Locally advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has grown close to the border or outside the prostate gland and into neighboring tissue, but has not spread into the lymph nodes or to other organs. In this study, anti-androgen hormone therapy is used to treat prostate cancer by blocking the stimulating effect of testosterone on the prostate cancer cells, to shrink the prostate cancer and slow down the growth of prostate cancer. External beam radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) involves a series of daily treatments to acurately deliver radiation to the prostate.

The study involved 880 patients with locally advanced prostate cancer who were randomly assigned to receive three months of intense hormone therapy (temporary castration) called total elimination of androgens in the body (total androgen blockade) followed by continuous anti-androgen therapy, allowing the testosterone to come back or the same hormonal treatment combined with radiation therapy between February 1996 to December 2002.

Findings show that 18 percent of patients who underwent hormone therapy alone died of prostate cancer, compared to nine percent of those who had both hormone and radiation treatment. The quality of life at four years after treatment was similar between the two groups, with the exception of decreased social function in the prostate cancer patients who had the combined treatment.

For more information on radiation therapy for prostate cancer, visit http://newswise.com/articles/view/544335/www.rtanswers.org.

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. It occurs when cells of the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. These cells may spread (metastasize) from the prostate to other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes.

Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer develops most frequently in men over fifty. This cancer can occur only in men, as the prostate is exclusively of the male reproductive tract. It is the most common type of cancer in men in the United States, where it is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer, except lung cancer.

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms.  Many men who develop prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes. Often it is diagnosed during the workup for an elevated PSA noticed during a routine checkup.

Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as benign prostatic hypertrophy. These symptoms may include:

  • difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine,
  • frequent urination,
  • increased urination at night,
  • blood in the urine,
  • painful urination and

Advanced prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body and this may cause additional symptoms. The most common symptom being bone pain, often in vertebrae (bones of the spine), pelvis or ribs. Spread of cancer into other bones such as the femur is usually to the proximal part of the bone. Prostate cancer in the spine can also compress the spinal cord, causing leg weakness and urinary and fecal incontinence.

About Cancer

Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.

Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:

  • Carcinoma - a cancer which is derived from the lining cells, or epithelium, of an organ. There are 4 major types of epithelium in the body (Glandular, squamous, transitional, and pseudostratified). Some types are only found in a few select organs such as the lung (pseudostratified) or urinary bladder (transitional). Carcinomas can arise from any of these epithelial types. For example, breast carcinoma is most commonly derived from the lining cells of the milk producing glands. A carcinoma with a glandular growth pattern is an adenocarcinoma. Common adenocarcinomas include prostate, colon, and breast. A carcinoma with a growth pattern resembling the squamous lining cells is termed a squamous cell carcinoma. Common squamous cell carcinomas are found in the esophagus and skin. However, any of these organs may have either type of carcinoma arising from it, although these latter diagnoses are exceedingly rare.
  • Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma - a cancer derived from the white blood cells that are present in the lymphoid tissues of the body. These sites most commonly include the lymph nodes and spleen. However, lymphomas may arise from any organ and body site.
  • Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.

Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, limiting time in the sun, being physically active, and eating a better diet. Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes.

Although doctors often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not, research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or viruses, bacteria, and certain hormones. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. Other common risk factors for cancer include:

  • Growing Older
  • Family history of cancer
  • Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or being overweight
  • Alcohol


 

 
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