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Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radiation Alone Might Be Best When Comorbidities Exist

While many of the thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year have relatively easy cases to treat that is not always so. When high-risk prostate cancer is diagnosed more aggressive and often more invasive treatments are recommended. For men who also have other medical concerns, such as diabetes or congestive heart failure, life-saving treatment may also tax the body more than it can handle. Researchers are finding, however, that high-dose radiation delivered via brachytherapy may lower the overall risk of morbidity.

Those findings some from a recent study involving nearly 7,400 men. Each of the men in the study presented with high-risk prostate cancer and also had a potentially life-limiting comorbidity. Men in the study group were treatment with brachytherapy with or without neoadjuvant radiotherapy. At a median follow up of nearly 8 years, researchers found that 935 of the men had died. Of that number, 80 died of prostate cancer. The remaining men died of other causes.

The findings have prompted researchers to suggest that high-dose radiation alone may serve as the wisest course of treatment action in certain cases. If comorbidity risk is present, this type of therapy may lessen overall morbidity chances while still adequately treating cancer.

Brachytherapy involves the implantation of tiny radioactive pellets directly into a prostate cancer tumor. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis after which men can generally resume their normal routines rather quickly. While associated side effect risks are lower than other treatment options, they do still exist. Brachytherapy, also known as seed implant therapy, has been proven highly successful in treating prostate cancer. Lower radiation dose treatments are also often used in lower-risk prostate cancer cases.

Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers about all treatment options. The best recommendations for treatment are offered on a case-specific basis.

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