A study funded by the National Cancer Institute and published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine, has demonstrated when there is a recurrence of prostate cancer, following surgery, those men who were treated with both radiation and hormone suppressing drugs were more likely to live longer and with less spread or metastasis of their cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 160,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S.and almost 27,000 men will die from it in 2017. Unfortunately, after surgery to remove the prostate, more than 30% of men suffer a recurrence. The question is how and whether to treat those men based on their age and individual circumstances.
Prostate cancer grows when exposed to testosterone and androgens. Hormone treatment could include drugs which block or diminish the production of these hormones; or, administering estrogen to counter the effects of testosterone. The study begun in 1998 involved researchers and patients from 150 locations in North America. Men who had more aggressive cancers had the most to gain from hormone suppression treatment. The men who had both radiation and hormone suppression treatments reduced their risk of death from their prostate cancer by more than 50%.(5.8% with both treatments versus 13.4% with radiation only)