While a number of studies have shown that androgen deprivation therapy combined with radiation can provide a powerful one-two punch to treat prostate cancer, this combination option may not be right in all cases. A recent study shows that men with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer who have other medical concerns, such as a prior heart attack, do not enjoy an enhanced survival benefit.
The recent study involved more than 200 men who underwent radiation therapy with or without androgen deprivation therapy. After a median follow up of 17 years, the survival rate for men with co-existing conditions was not significantly improved when androgen deprivation therapy was added into the mix. Since androgen therapy can take a toll on the body, researchers suggest this might not be the best option for treatment in cases where other medical concerns exist.
Androgen deprivation therapy involves the use of medications that block prostate cancer cells from gaining the fuel they need to thrive from hormones, such as testosterone. This therapy is highly beneficial in a number of forms of prostate cancer, other studies have shown, but its benefits may not always be felt. Since the treatment can have side effects, as well, it may be best to proceed with caution when prescribing deprivation therapy in cases where a patient has had a prior heart attack, researchers say.
Prostate cancer affects an estimated 180,000 American men each year. Roughly 26,000 men die from the disease. While many cases are caught early and the cancer is deemed not slow-growing, aggressive forms of prostate cancer do exist. For men who face unfavorable-risk prostate cancer, treatments do exist. Radiation therapy may prove to be especially helpful in killing off and/or controlling the disease. Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are urged to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare providers.