Prostate Cancer Patients Tolerate Radiation Therapy Better Than Surgery: New Study

Scientists from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute for Cancer Research compared the long-term side effects of prostate cancer treatment. In their study, they examined the side effects of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) versus surgery in patients with early-stage prostate cancer. In a study of 109 men treated at 10 UK cancer centres, 50 were randomly assigned to laparoscopic or robotic surgery and 59 received radiation therapy.

Two years later, the men, whose average age was 66, reported no side effects.

Compared to those who had surgery, men who received radiation therapy reported better urinary retention and were less likely to report sexual problems.

In the surgical group, 47% required the use of urinary retention pads two years after surgery.

Meanwhile, only 4.5% of patients in the radiotherapy group required the use of urinary retention pads.

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However, the radiotherapy group reported more bowel problems than the surgery group.

In fact, 15 percent in the radiotherapy group reported “gut anxiety,” while no one in the surgery group reported bowel problems.

The medical director, Professor Nicholas van As, commented on the “world’s first study”.

Professor Nicholas van As said: “This world-first study shows that SBRT, an advanced form of radiotherapy now widely available in the UK, is often more gentle and may have fewer long-term side effects than surgery for prostate cancer patients.” “.

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Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust elaborated.

“One of the biggest concerns for men I see in the clinic before prostate cancer treatment is whether it will lead to urinary incontinence, and many also worry about the impact on their sexual function,” he said.

“While there is a risk that both SBRT and surgery will cause problems, these results suggest that SBRT is less likely.”

The oncologist added: “Going forward, these results should help clinicians have important discussions with prostate cancer patients about whether to choose SBRT or surgery.”

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Professor Nicholas van As said the findings could help patients “make an informed decision based on their individual needs and concerns.”

Professor Emma Hall from the Institute for Cancer Research shared her thoughts on the study.

“This landmark study uses patient-reported results to understand how different prostate cancer treatments affect patients after recovery.

“It’s great to see that using SBRT for early-stage prostate cancer can help people avoid the genital and urinary tract side effects that are commonly associated with surgery.

“And I hope these results will help men choose the best course of treatment with their doctor.”

Prostate cancer

According to the NHS, prostate cancer symptoms can include:

  • The need to urinate more often, often at night
  • The need to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty starting to urinate (indecision)
  • Straining or prolonged urination
  • Weak flow
  • Feeling that the bladder has not emptied completely
  • Blood in urine or blood in semen.

If you have any of the symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

The earlier any type of cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

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