Combo Treatment Halves Prostate Death Rates: Study

Researchers say using radiation plus hormones should be worldwide practice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2008 6:45 AM CST
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men, killing 221,000 worldwide every year.   (AP GRAPHIC)
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(Newser) – Using radiation therapy in combination with hormone treatment can double the survival rate of patients with advanced prostate cancer, a new European study finds. Of those men given only standard drugs, 24% died after 10 years, compared to less than 12% of those given both treatments. Combined treatment is already standard in the US and the researchers say it should become standard worldwide, WebMD reports.

The study focused on patients whose cancer had broken out from the wall of the prostate gland, but not advanced much further. Subjects being treated with radiation in addition to hormones suffered significantly more from diarrhea, the researchers wrote in the journal Lancet Oncology, but 85% of patients said the side effects were acceptable.