Chemotherapy Could Become a More Common Treatment Method for Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy Could Become a More Common Treatment Method for Prostate Cancer

One of the most trusted methods at fighting back against prostate and many other types of cancer is chemotherapy. The only issue for many people stricken with prostate cancer is that the side effects can often be considered too tough to handle to the point where they would delay their treatment. That was then and this is now. There was recently a new study released that found that men that used chemotherapy treatment earlier in their fight against cancer lived on average, 14 months longer than those who chose not to get the treatment early in their cancer.

It was found that patients who added an additional – and inexpensive – drug along with other treatment would live longer. The study examined those men who had their cancer spread to other areas of the body by 39 percent. After 36 months of treatment just 136 of the 790 men in the study died. One hundred one patients that had a hormone treatment along with the chemotherapy drug, Docetaxel, passed away during the three year period.

What these findings do is make it that much more important for doctors to be sure about whether their patients are healthy enough to handle the treatment. Prostate cancer is one of the worst cancers that  man can be diagnosed with and each year, more than 240,000 men are diagnosed and close to 30,000 each year die because of it.

How These Treatments Work

The most common treatment method for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer is with androgen suppression or chemical castration. These are drugs that are used to cut down the production of testosterone, which is what feeds and helps the tumor grow and spread.

In most cases, doctors are reluctant and hesitant about prescribing too much too soon. Since chemotherapy treatment can be toxic for the human body, many doctors would prefer to wait and see what happens to the tumor.

Dr. Clifford Hudis, the President of the American Society for Clinical Oncology said on the topic of whether to go straight after the tumor or to wait, “Do you throw everything at the patient in the beginning or do you wait?”

Dr. Christopher Sweeney from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston helped lead the study and said that “one of the biggest improvements in survival we have seen in patients with adult solid metastatic tumors.”

The Specifics

During the study, the 790 participants in the study either got just chemical castration treatment or with Docetaxel.  This drug is also sold under the name of Taxotere and can also be found in a cheaper generic version. Taxotere was originally approved for metastic prostate cancer in 2004 and ever since, there have been numerous other similar drugs approved for use in the United States. The newer drugs that have come since Taxotere was approved are meant to be used after hormone therapy no longer works and in the study, patients saw a median survival rate increased by two to five months.

The study was funded by the United States government with the basic hope being that researchers would be able to find a better link between the drugs used to treat prostate cancer and the ability to extend your life.

Patients with prostate cancer that has spread heavily throughout the body are the most common and likely to be treated with chemotherapy. This is why doctors need to know their patients and know their body before going into this treatment method. When it comes to treating someone who may already be considered too weak to handle the pains and struggles that come with the treatment, doctors should know the dangers.

Dr. Matthew R. Cooperberg, associate professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco, said that because doctors began using newer drugs before using treatment choices like Docetaxel, chemotherapy treatment options have been pushed back excessively.

When it comes to prostate cancer and the various treatment methods needed, most studies are needed to examine the ins and outs of each treatment method. There are also various issues that need to be worked on first. Among them is the original treatment of prostate cancer is usually handled by urologists, who don’t administer chemotherapy. This is usually done by oncologists, so there will need to be a change made in this aspect.

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