We are in the age of medical discovery as more and more options become available to treat once incurable diseases. With the prevalence of prostate cancer in older men, it is important to stay informed as to current treatment options.
A study just completed by a team of researchers at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto found that the drug dutasteride, already being used to treat enlarged prostates, may reduce the need for invasive surgery and other more hostile prostate cancer treatments that can cause side effects such as impotence and incontinence.
Doctors participating in the current research looked at 302 men between the ages of 48 and 82 over a period of about three years. Some of the men were given dutasteride while the control group received a placebo.
Results found that 38 per cent of those treated with dutasteride saw their tumours grow in comparison to 48 per cent who received the placebo.
The report was published in the Lancet where, in an accompanying editorial, professor Chris Parker stated: “These data are consistent with the hypothesis that dutasteride reduces the volume of low-grade prostate cancers.”
The risk of prostate cancer increases as men get older so it is important to have more options available to delay the disease or reverse it.
The drug does not actually treat prostate cancer into remission, but it does appear to slow growth and prolong life that way. Nowadays, computerized treatment actually pinpoints parts of the prostate and destroys these cells using high frequency ultrasound waves or radiation.
By delaying treatment though, many men would fall out of the category where aggressive treatment is necessary. A recent study in the U.K. in April, 2012 suggests that the radical prostetectomy operation actually shows no statistical improvement over watchful waiting. This is most disturbing as the side effects inherent with an operation may actually cause a lower quality of life than if the operation had been avoided. In any case, the decision for prostate cancer treatment should be made carefully and only after being discussed with your doctor and the subject matter being well researched.