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Study Compares 3 Common Prostate Cancer Treatments
Date:1/31/2012

also had the lowest cost per patient per year of about $2,557.

A slightly higher number (6.7 percent) of those treated with prostatectomy experienced problems with their genital or urinary organs. This treatment, the study revealed, had a total cost of about $3,206 per patient-year.

Meanwhile, just over 7 percent of patients who received external beam radiation therapy had these adverse effects. This was also the most expensive therapy, at $6,412 per patient-year. Similarly, 1.7 percent of patients who underwent the treatment had gastrointestinal effects. In contrast, only 0.1 percent of prostatectomy patients and 0.3 percent of brachytherapy patients experienced these issues.

"We found that external beam radiotherapy had higher toxicity rates and was the most costly therapy per patient-year," Ciezki said. "While there are clearly still some high-risk prostate cancer patients who will benefit from external beam radiotherapy, for the approximately 80 percent or more of prostate cancer patients diagnosed with low- and intermediate-risk disease, brachytherapy or prostatectomy may be even more preferable options than we've previously assumed for men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer."

The researchers pointed out they were not able to determine how far the disease had progressed in each patient and the study was limited to patients older than 65 whose only diagnosed condition was prostate cancer.

They added their findings are preliminary and more research is needed to investigate why the three prostate cancer therapies produce different results and whether or not certain types of patients are more vulnerable to the long-term effects of a particular treatment.

Experts said decisions about treating the individual patient remain specific to that patient and his disease, however.

"The selection of treatment must include a detailed discussion addressing the life expectancy and comorbidities [other illnesses] of the i
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