According to a new study, researchers just made a huge breakthrough on prostate cancer. Like most amazing things, it sounds so simple: The scientists just combined two therapies to treat the cancer, and they found that the treatment increased the lifespan of men in the study with advanced prostate cancer by 37%.
Nicholas James, the lead author of the study, told The Guardian, “These are the most powerful results I’ve seen from a prostate cancer trial. It’s a once in a career feeling. This is one of the biggest reductions in death I’ve seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers.” Obviously, everyone is very excited.
The docs combined regular hormone therapy with another drug called abiraterone, which is normally used for patients who are no longer responding to standard treatment. The researchers studied 2,000 men; 83% of the men who received both the normal hormone therapy and abiraterone were less likely to die. The only downside was more intense side effects, such as heart and liver problems. But those are treatable — advanced prostate cancer is usually not, so for many people, this could be a reasonable trade-off.
This is great news for men with prostate cancer.
This new development will change people’s lives. Alfred Samuels, 59, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2012, but he was one of the lucky trial participants.
That’s a far cry from when he was first diagnosed, when it felt like his “world fell apart” since his cancer was inoperable.
The trial was run in the U.K. and likely needs more time to make it stateside or to be used as a standard treatment. But 100,000 men die every year from the disease and 11% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, so this breakthrough is a big deal.