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Radiation Improves Survival Rates in Node-Positive Prostate Cancer

While many forms of prostate cancer are slow-growing and largely not aggressive, that’s not always the case. For men with node-positive prostate cancer, a more stringent course of treatment may improve survival rates while providing a more effective treatment course overall, a new study concludes. Researchers specifically honed in on the benefits of combining hormone therapy and radiation in these cases to better gauge long-term outcomes.

Node-positive prostate cancer is a more advanced form of the disease. It is diagnosed when cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. In many cases, men with this form of the disease are treated using hormone therapy to block the production of testosterone. This hormone is a known fuel source for prostate cancer cells. By blocking testosterone, doctors effectively starve cancer. This, however, researchers at the American Cancer Society and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston say, may not be enough to increase survival chances. Their study into the use of radiation therapy along with hormone therapy indicates combined therapy that includes both treatments produces better results.

To arrive at their findings, researchers analyzed a large national database of patients. What they found was that adding radiation to hormone therapy decreased death risk in patients by as much as 50 percent over the course of five years. This more aggressive form of treatment, researchers concluded, can provide a more effective way to manage the disease, halt metastasis and possibly provide a cure for some patients.

Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are urged to discuss all the treatment options with their healthcare providers. In node-positive prostate cancer, more aggressive forms of treatment may provide greater survival opportunities. Men, however, should understand the risks and potential benefits of all treatment options before moving forward on a particular course. A personal healthcare provider is best poised to offer advice in a man’s particular case.

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