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A new American study has revealed that adding radiotherapy to existing hormone therapy treatment plans for prostate cancer patients could help save hundreds of lives.
A research team based at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that combining treatments of radiotherapy and hormone therapy, especially in older patients, can cut prostate cancer-related deaths by almost 50% compared to those who only received hormone therapy.
The study, which observed the treatment of over 30,000 men between the ages of 76 and 85 with locally advanced prostate cancer analysed how hormone therapy, which blocks testosterone and other male hormones which encourage the cancer to spread and the effects when used in conjunction with radiation.
Lead scientist Dr Bekelman has said that the use of hormone therapy on its own should be gradually reduced within prostate cancer patients.
Dr Malcolm Mason, who works as a Cancer Research UK prostate cancer expert, stated that most UK prostate cancer patients currently receive both hormone therapy with radiotherapy as standard. “The NICE guidelines for locally advanced prostate cancer state that any patient who is suitable for radiotherapy should receive it and this should apply irrespective of age. This is an important study that emphasises the need for more research into cancer treatment for the elderly. It is vital to ensure that the older people are receiving the best care possible.”
A recent medical report carried out by the National Cancer Intelligence Network managed to highlight the need for improvement in the way older people suffering from the disease are treated within the NHS. It is currently estimated that two thirds of all cancer diagnoses occur in patients over the age of 65, and in approximately one third of people aged 75 and over