A new research study has found that some men may fear the side effects from prostate cancer treatments, even though these life saving treatments may increase their chances of surviving their disease by a substantial margin.
UK-Based Cancer Conference Reveals the Harsh Realities of Cancer Treatment
At the UK-based National Cancer Research Institute’s latest annual conference, which was held from the 4th to the 6th of November in Glasgow, Scotland, a number of scientists and researchers spoke at length about new developments made regarding methods for treating a number of different types of cancer over the course of 2018.
A portion of one panel at the conference concerned with the reality surrounding the consequences of cancer treatment specifically addressed the predilection for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to avoid certain treatments that could increase their survival rates because of the severity of the associated side effects.
The Figures Speak for Themselves
Presenter Hashim Ahmed, chair of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group for the NCRI and professor of urology from Imperial College London, spearheaded data collection from more than 630 men that had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at hospitals in the UK. The majority (74 percent) were given low to medium-risk diagnoses, with the remainder diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer.
Professor Ahmed discussed his team’s findings, revealing that survival was the primary motivator for these men when it came to choosing treatments. However, he was quick to point out that the side effects associated with some prostate cancer treatments, which include incontinence and erectile dysfunction, or when it came to needing further active surveillance to ensure their cancer hadn’t returned, these men were willing to make a trade-off when it came to their survival rates.
A Small But Significant Difference
On average these trade-offs weren’t overwhelming, but they did exist. For the ability to increase their chances to preserve urinary function by one percent, for example, men in the study were found willing to reduce their survival rate by 0.68 percent. Also, reducing erectile dysfunction by the same amount found men willing to reduce their chances of survival by 0.28%. Finally, in exchange for being one percent more likely to not need more treatment in the future, men were willing to give up an increase of 0.41% to their survival rate.