Medical

Non-invasive treatment produces 98 percent prostate cancer cure rate

Non-invasive treatment produce...
A microscope image of prostate cancer cells
A microscope image of prostate cancer cells
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A microscope image of prostate cancer cells
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A microscope image of prostate cancer cells

Traditional approaches to tacklingprostate cancer are generally quite effective, with a 80 to 90percent cure rate, but a new method, known as Stereotactic BodyRadiation Therapy (SBRT) could revolutionize the practice. Theresults of an extensive five-year study have now been published,showing that the method, which requires far fewer hospital visitsthan conventional radiation therapy, has a cure rate of 98.6 percent.

Currently, if you're diagnosed with theearly stages of prostate cancer, there are three treatment pathsavailable. Doctors can either decide to surgically remove the gland,implant tiny radioactive seeds into the prostate using needles in theoperating room, or use external beam radiation, which involvesbetween 42 and 45 treatments, taking place five days a week andspaced out over a period of two months or more.

Those methods are pretty effective,curing the patient 80-90 percent of the time. However, the SBRTtreatment has the potential to make the therapy process far lessdisruptive, while also significantly increasing the patient's odds ofbeating the disease.

The lead site for the trial was theUniversity of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern) medical center, with 91 patients diagnosed with stage one (low risk) and stage two(intermediate risk) prostate cancer taking part.

The biggest benefit of the treatment isthe reduction in the number of hospital visits that the patient hasto make, lowering the 44-treatment average of conventional radiationtherapy to just five visits. It works by delivering multiple beams atvarious angles, which converge on the prostate and deliver ahigh dose of radiation.

The method allows for large amount ofradiation to be delivered to the tumor while limiting effects on thesurrounding tissue. It certainly seems to be effective, with only onepatient experienced a recurrence of the cancer in the five yearsfollowing treatment.

While the treatment was found to bemore effective than other courses of action, the side effectsappeared to be the same. Patients reported urinary issues (such asincreased urgency and frequency), rectal irritation, and in around 25percent of cases, a decrease in erectile function. Looking forward, the researchers plan to investigate means of reducing these side effects, while also looking into using the technique to tackle stage three prostate cancer.

Perhaps the most compelling aspects ofthe treatment option, should it become widely available,is the lessened impact that the therapy would have on patients' lives.

"I live 45 minutes away from UTSouthwestern," said trial patient Terry Martin. "The difference between being treated five times versus44 times is enormous. I feltthat I was back to normal just 10 days after finishing treatment."

Full details of the extensive study arepublished online in the European Journal of Cancer.

Source: UT Southwestern

5 comments
bobcat4424
This article is a part of a media campaign by urologists. The fact is that 19 out of every 20 prostate cancers are non-clinical. That means that they pose no danger and require no treatment. Here is a link to the USPSTF final recommendation (which is the "gold standard."): http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/prostate-cancer-screening There is not a shred of scientific evidence that all the screening, biopsies and treatments in the world extend the lives of prostate cancer victims by even a single day. There is, however, some evidence that biopsies may contribute to future prostate cancers of the fast-growing clinical variety. (See "Needle Trace Tracking" or "Needle Tracking.") My wife, who is a gerontologist, puts it this way: "You can have your heart attack while playing volleyball or while shopping for Depends." People need to educate themselves, not on alternative medicine, but on the hundreds of published studies that all conclude that the current medical practice is to treat 19 non-clinical prostate cancer victims in order to treat one who has the clinical type. It was quite scary about five years ago when I got back a PSA of 6, then 8, then 12. But luckily I has family and friends with the appropriate research expertise and we did a complete lit review (this was before the USPSTF report came out.) I decided to follow what eventually became the Task Force recommendation, and not only did nothing, but stopped having PSA's done except as a part of my more complete every-3-years physical. My PSA last time was 2.6. Treatments for prostate cancer average about 30%+ of urologists' revenue stream. They are publishing huge amounts of papers crowing about the "success" of their cancer treatments. But what they are doind is exploiting people's fear of cancer for their own profit.
Calson
External beam radiation with X-rays has been shown to dramatically increase the risk of new cancer in patients. Halting one cancer while developing others is not a true medical success.
EZ
I read an article a while back that claimed Germany offered a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment that uses "heat." No nuclear radiation or cutting. I wonder why we aren't using that in the US?
Narada
Non-invasive? Ionizing radiation is the very definition of invasive. Non-surgical, yes. But this is totally invasive.
GaryDobbins
i thank my lucky stars and the people who post more informative comments, even better truths than the article itself. Such is the case with bobcat4424 comment. My father was taken from us at 64 by prostate cancer. Being one of his 4 sons, every time I see a positive article about prostate I hope that my brothers and myself may be spared my fathers fate.