Prostate radiotherapy 'could help thousands'
Radiotherapy can provide extended survival time for thousands of men with prostate cancer, a major trial has shown.
A study in London demonstrates for the first time that adding the treatment to standard hormone therapy in men with a locally advanced form of the disease significantly holds back their cancer.
Until now, doctors have thought it pointless targeting the main tumour itself once the disease has begun to spread to nearby lymph nodes and bones.
But the new approach, reported in 'The Lancet', significantly increased the proportion of patients who were alive after three years, despite the local spread.
While 70pc of those given hormone therapy alone survived for three years, around 80pc of those in the study who received hormone therapy and radiotherapy were alive after the same period.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men. Scientists at University College London and the Royal Marsden Hospital carried out the trial with 2,000 patients.
Dr Chris Parker, lead researcher of the study based at the Royal Marsden, said: "Our results show a powerful effect for certain men with advanced prostate cancer.
"These findings could and should change standards of care worldwide." (© Daily Telegraph, London)