Radiation for recurrent prostate cancer urged

March 17, 2004|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

An estimated 30,000 men who have had prostate cancer surgery will relapse this year, and half of them will die. But many of those patients can be saved, a new study says, if doctors treat them with radiation therapy at the earliest signs of recurrence.

In cases where prostate cancer appears to be returning after surgery, doctors usually forgo using local radiation treatment altogether because they assume the disease has spread. Hormones, which are helpful but cannot cure the disease, are typically given instead.

But the latest study, being published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 501 men who were given radiation therapy in lieu of hormones and found that about half lived at least four years without another relapse.

In roughly two-thirds of patients who do not receive the treatment, the cancer will spread within 10 years, said Dr. Kevin M. Slawin, an author of the study and director of the Baylor Prostate Center at the Baylor medical school.

He said many physicians either wait too long to give radiation therapy or rule it out altogether.

Less than 20 percent of patients whose prostate cancer returns undergo the therapy.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.