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Strides in prostate cancer treatment may encourage testing

Category: Prostate

Proton beam therapy, an experimental treatment for men with prostate cancer, can be safely administered with a minimum of side effects, new research suggests.

A study presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago described how the use of proton beams, rather than photons, are effective in treating certain types of cancer, and allow a radiation oncologist to focus more radiation on a malignant tumor and less on adjacent healthy tissues.

The researchers specifically noted that less than one percent of patients had severe grade three genitrourinary side effects and less than 0.5 percent of patients experienced grade three gastrointestinal toxicities.

"Proton therapy is becoming more popular as a treatment for prostate cancer, but it is unclear at this point whether the long-term outcomes with proton therapy will be better than those achieved with other treatments," the study's lead author Dr Nancy Mendenhall said. "At this point, we can say that early tolerance of proton therapy has been excellent, with a very low rate of urinary and rectal toxicity."

According to data compiled by the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men. Doctors have recommended prostate cancer testing in all men over 50.

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