Radiation After Surgery May Help High Risk Prostate Cancer Patients

A new French study supports the use of radiation therapy after prostate cancer surgery to help prevent recurrence in high-risk patients. Specialists are saying that the findings come as little surprise.

While surgery to remove the prostate, called a radical prostatectomy, is one of the main treatments for prostate cancer. The risk of cancer recurrence can be 10 percent to 50 percent in patients whose cancer has already spread beyond the prostate, so post-surgery radiation therapy is commonly prescribed for these men.

The new study included more than 1,000 high-risk prostate cancer patients who had surgery and were followed for more than 10 years. Some of them had immediate radiation therapy (given within four months of surgery) while others were simply monitored for signs of cancer recurrence (watchful waiting).

After 10 years, 61 percent of men who received immediate radiation therapy remained cancer-free, compared with 38 percent of those in the watchful waiting group, according to the study, which was published online Oct. 18 in the journal The Lancet.

These long-term results reassure us of the continued benefit and safety of radiation therapy after prostatectomy for a large proportion of men with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer. Younger patients, or those whose biopsy shows evidence of cancer’s spread, may gain the most from post-surgical radiation treatments.

+ Learn about state-of-the-art prostate cancer care in Hampton Roads.

Source: MedPage Today

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