Rate of Survival in Men with Prostate Cancer Can Be Improved Through Surgery

Undergoing a surgical procedure to treat prostate cancer in men helps increase their rate of survival especially after going through radiation treatment, new report indicates.

Radiation therapy is usually the first step to treating prostate cancer in men and is the most common form of treatment. This method is preferred over other methods such as chemotherapy and surgery since it is less complex.

cancerHowever, according to statistics, this mode of treatment isn’t very effective and the survival rates are still low. 25% of men who go through radiation therapy had the cancer reoccurring within five years of receiving the treatment. The re-occurrence is usually much worse and much harder to treat especially if using radiation therapy.

Figures from the American Cancer Society (ACS) indicate that at least 2.8 million men in America have cancer of the prostate, and by the end of this year (2016) approximately 180,890 new cases will be reported. The National Institutes of Health states that 14 percent of men will at some point in their life are diagnosed with this type of cancer which makes it the most common cancer in men.

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine recently carried out experiments to evaluate the benefits of surgery, and according to their findings, surgery is a much better option of treating the cancer especially after radiation therapy fails.

Led by Naveen Pokala, M.D., assistant professor at the Urology Division, University of Missouri, and the team discovered that surgically removing the growth increases the rate of survival even after radiation treatment has failed.

Surgery is not the most preferred option when it comes to treating prostate cancer because of its complexity. A surgeon has to carefully remove the cancerous cells while avoiding damaging the surrounding tissues. It is also not easy to completely remove all the tumors especially those that are hidden deep inside the organ.

Naveed Pokal says that more than 27,000 men died because of this cancer in the year ending 2015 and there is a rise in the number of cases. And considering that the survival rate of radiation therapy isn’t so good, it is time people started focusing on surgical procedure.

The researchers came up with the conclusion after scrutinizing records of the success rate of radiation therapy. Relying on database from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, Pokala and his colleagues studied 364 patients who had their prostate cancer removed via salvage radical prostatectomy after radiation therapy had failed.

Salvage radical prostatectomy entails removing both the prostate gland as well as surrounding tissue in a bid to stop it from spreading. However, after radiation therapy, the surrounding tissues will have been scarred and the surgeon has to be extra careful not to cause any further damage. The procedure can be done using open surgery method or using robotic technique.

In the end of the study it was discovered that after the surgery 88.6% of the victims were still living after 10 or more years while 77% of them continued to live for another 20 plus years.