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Treatment Combination Can Improve Prostate Cancer Outcomes

For the thousands of American men diagnosed with intermediate-risk prostate cancer each year, enhancing survival chances even a little bit can be a big consideration of any treatment option. Researchers are finding the combination two of the most common treatments used on their own in this type of cancer can offer a modest increase in survival likelihood.

A recent study looked at the benefits of combining external beam radiation therapy with brachytherapy. External beam radiation involves the use of targeted beams of radiation outside the body to kill cancer cells within it. Brachytherapy calls for the implantation of tiny radioactive seeds directly into the prostate tumor itself. These seeds deliver highly targeted doses of radiation right to the cancer cells themselves.

During the course of the study, researchers found a slight increase in overall survival for men who underwent both treatments following intermediate-risk diagnosis. Over a median follow up period of seven years, the survival rate was about 91.4 percent for the combined therapy and about 90.2 percent for the use of brachytherapy alone. The conclusion researchers came to was that radiation combined with brachytherapy offered a consistent improvement in regard to longer overall survival benefits.

An estimated 180,000 Americans are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. While many of these men will find their form of the disease is rather slow growing, some higher risk cases do exist. In fact, an estimated 26,000 American men die from this disease each year.

All men are at risk for the development of prostate cancer over the course of their lifetimes. Men should begin talking to their healthcare providers as they age about their personal risk factors for this disease and the appropriate time to begin routine screening. Early detection can lead to lifesaving treatment in this form of cancer and many others. For men with intermediate risk prostate cancer, a combination therapy might provide the best option.

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