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Radiation Improves Survival for Advanced Prostate Cancer
Date:5/20/2008

But, it may not be for every patient, one expert says

TUESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Men with advanced prostate cancer that hasn't spread beyond the gland should receive radiation therapy as soon as the prostate has been removed, a new long-term study says.

"What we are showing today is that there is a significant difference between men who were treated with radiation and those who weren't," study co-author Dr. Gregory P. Swanson, of Cancer Care Northwest Spokane, Wash., said during a Tuesday teleconference at the American Urological Association annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

"We found that overall survival increased among men who had radiation therapy compared with those who did not," he said.

For the study, 413 men with advanced localized prostate cancer were assigned to receive radiation soon after surgery to removed their prostate, or no radiation until their blood levels of prostate-specific antigen rose. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the cells in the prostate; because PSA can be used to detect disease, it is sometimes called a biological marker or tumor marker, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The men were checked every three months for one year, every six months for two years, then annually until death. The examinations included PSA measurements and bone scans if warranted, the researchers said.

The researchers found that radiation therapy after prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) significantly reduced the recurrence of prostate cancer during the 11.5 year follow-up period. There was significant improvement in disease-free survival and overall survival, with survival rates increased by almost two years, the researchers said.

However, the men who did undergo radiation therapy reported more side effects, such as incontinence and impotence, than men who didn't receive the therapy, which is to be expected, the researchers noted.


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