Patients suffering from prostate cancer that undergo radical prostatectomy, followed up with adjuvant radiotherapy, fare better overall than those who are treated with radiation treatments and hormone therapy alone according to a new research study.
Better Overall Survival
A new comparative research study, recently published in the journal Cancer, recently discovered a major difference in overall survival rates in prostate cancer patients depending on their treatment methods. Scientists spearheaded by Rutgers University analyzed information from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database, finding that treating prostate cancer with radical prostatectomy (RP) plus adjuvant radiotherapy featured some of the most promising survival rates for certain types of cancers.
Statistical differences were indeed significant. Depending on the type of prostate cancer, ten to fifteen-year survival rates were found to range from 72 percent to 88.9 percent for patients receiving RP and adjuvant radiotherapy. In comparison, patients that received just hormone therapy and radiation therapy had survival rates ranging from 60.5 percent to 74.2 percent for the same types of prostate cancers.
Not Without Its Risks
RP plus adjuvant radiotherapy may lead to a significantly higher overall survival rate, but there are some risks associated with this type of treatment that is not shared by patients treated differently. According to the research study’s findings, erectile dysfunction was quite a bit more common being treated via radical prostatectomy, with a rate of 28% versus just 20% from other methods.
Erectile dysfunction isn’t the only risk higher for these patients, though. The possibility of incontinence after RP plus adjuvant radiotherapy was found to be much higher, with 49% of these patients experiencing symptoms. In patients that received just radiation therapy and hormone therapy, however, urinary incontinence rates were much lower at just 19%.
More Informed Patients are Happier Patients
While no one is happy to learn of a prostate cancer diagnosis, the results of this research study can help make prostate cancer sufferers happier and more comfortable over time thanks to knowing the kinds of survival rates and side effect changes that particular treatments have. Doctors can communicate with their patients more clearly about what to expect, helping patients make decisions about their health more clearly.
No one wants to suffer from incontinence or erectile dysfunction. At the same time, knowing that certain therapies have significantly higher survival rates associated with them might make patients more comfortable with choosing them, despite the possibilities of these side effects.