A new study suggests prostate cancer patients who show signs of a recurrence of the disease after their prostate is removed can be helped by radiation therapy.
Researchers say what's known as "salvage radiation" may potentially cure patients whose disease recurs after radical prostatectomy. However, there's other evidence suggesting that it's ineffective in the patients at highest risk of spread of the disease.
The study in the current issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates that some patients thought to be incurable could benefit from the treatment if given in the course of recurrent disease. The results also suggest that metastatic disease progression for those patients at the highest risk can be prevented.
Who is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in North American men after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer.
Both the number of new cases of prostate cancer and the number of deaths due to prostate cancer have increased in the past decade.
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Some of these risk factors for prostate cancer are:
- Age - Prostate cancer is rarely seen in men younger than 50-years-old. The chance of developing prostate cancer increases as men get older.
Race - Black males are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white males. Black males are also more likely to die of prostate cancer than white males.
Family History of Prostate Cancer - A man whose father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer has a higher-than-average risk of developing prostate cancer.
Other potential risk factors include alcohol consumption, vitamin or mineral interactions, and other dietary habits.
Source: http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov/cgi-bin/srchcgi.exe?DBID=pdq&TYPE=search&UID=280+02606&ZFILE=patient&SFMT=pdq_scrprv/1/0/0 (National Cancer Institute) contributed to this report.