New Treatments For Prostate Cancer

Researchers and doctors are always looking for more effective and alternative treatments for prostate cancer. New prostate cancer treatment research is going on in several areas at present.

PROSTATE CANCER – NEW TREATMENT BY RADIOTHERAPY

Research is continuing to try and improve technology and techniques to allow radiotherapy to the prostate gland to be more effective and to have fewer side effects. One way is to reduce the amount of radiation received by normal organs (bladder, bowel etc) and this has been improving over the last few years with better machines and techniques such as “conformal radiotherapy” and “IMRT”.

Work is also being carried out on combining brachytherapy with external therapy to allow some of the benefits of brachytherapy (fewer side effects, higher overall dose to the prostate cancer) to be used for men with more advanced prostate cancer without compromising the chance of cure.

NEW HORMONE THERAPY FOR PROSTATE CANCER

Some newer prostate cancer hormone treatments have fewer side effects than older hormone based drugs. Some are also felt to be more effective. All the time researchers are testing to try and find the best hormone tablets or injections for use in prostate cancer.

Other research is going on to try and work out the best time to give hormone treatment in prostate cancer and whether it is best to combine this treatment with other types of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Trials are currently being run to answer these questions and the results should be available in the next few years.

IMPROVEMENTS IN CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT FOR PROSTATE CANCER

In the past prostate cancer did not respond very well to chemotherapy drugs. However now there are newer drugs which are more powerful against prostate cancer and these have started to be used with more frequency in late prostate cancer which has already spread to other organs and which has become resistant to hormone treatments. The best drug found so far is Docetaxel, a new type of chemotherapy drug. It has several side effects including hair loss, nausea and risk of infection. Doctors are now looking to see if Docetaxel would work even better as a combination with other drugs.

USE OF BISPHOSPHONATE DRUGS FOR PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT

These are a group of drugs which are most often Prostate Protocol used in treating osteoporosis. It has been recently found that they can also help reduce pain associated with cancer deposits or secondaries in the bones. They may also help reduce the risk of these abnormal bones from breaking or fracturing, by slowing down the damage caused to the bone by the cancer.

Research is ongoing to look at which of these drugs is the best for treating prostate cancer with bone disease and when the best time to start treatment with these drugs is.

ALTERNATIVE TO SURGERY FOR TREATMENT OF EARLY PROSTATE CANCER

There are 2 new treatments which are being researched as an alternative to surgery for some men with localised prostate cancer. Both options would not require a general anaesthetic (you would not need to be put to sleep) making them lower risk. Both treatments also have fewer side effects than radical surgery (“prostatectomy”). However neither has been in use long enough to know if it will prevent prostate cancer from coming back as effectively as standard treatments (surgery and radiotherapy).

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