A new study has shown that early treatment for advanced prostate cancer with a chemotherapy drug can increase the lives of patients.
Experts and campaigners have hailed the scientific breakthrough after the findings were announced following the results from trials in Britain and Switzerland. Around 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United Kingdom every year whilst more than 11,000 men die from the deadly disease.
Docetaxol is usually given to sufferers of prostate cancer after hormone treatment has taken place, but exerts are now pushing for the NHS to give sufferers the treatment far earlier in diagnosis.
Professor Malcolm Mason, from Cardiff University, has said “In prostate cancer it has been used at a much more advanced stage of the illness, for some years – now we know that this chemotherapy should be added earlier, in fact as soon as hormone therapy starts.”
Dr Ian Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK has said that “the findings of this trial are potentially game-changing – we can’t wait to see the full results….chemotherapy is currently one of the last-resort treatments for advanced prostate cancer.”
Doctors have hailed the breakthrough but have also warned that there are side effects although they can be managed. Researchers have said they need more time to study patients for longer to see if the drug significantly prolongs life is the cancer has not spread.
But Dr Frame remains excited by the findings and believes the drugs should be made more readily available. He says that “if it is shown to have a much greater impact on survival when prescribed earlier and alongside hormone therapy, that’s incredibly exciting, and we would want to see this brought in to the clinic so it can benefit men without delay.”
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