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Prostate Cancer Patients With High Radiation Doses Fare Well

Long-term adverse outcomes not more common than with standard-dose radiation

TUESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with standard-dose radiation, high-dose radiation treatments for localized prostate cancer are not associated with increased long-term treatment-related outcomes for urinary, bowel and sexual functions affecting quality of life, according to a study in the March 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

James A. Talcott, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 280 men with localized prostate cancer who participated in the Proton Radiation Oncology Group 9509, a trial comparing the standard radiation treatment dose of combined photon and proton radiation (70.2 Gy) to high dose (79.2 Gy). The survey covered sexual, urinary and bowel complications, which respondents rated on established scales.

The researchers found that the patients' clinical characteristics were similar in both treatment groups after a median of 9.4 years of follow-up. The mean scale score for standard radiation dose compared to high dose for the quality-of-life issues were: urinary obstruction/irritation, 23.3 versus 24.6; urinary incontinence, 10.6 versus 9.7; bowel problems, 7.7 versus 7.9; and sexual dysfunction, 68.2 versus 65.9. There was a higher 10-year biochemical progression rate for patients receiving standard-dose radiation versus high dose (32 versus 17 percent), and that group reported less confidence that their cancers were controlled (76.0 versus 86.2).

"This study, reporting patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes after the longest published follow-up after radiation therapy for prostate cancer, indicates that radiation at the higher doses now commonly used were not associated with increased patient-reported, long-term, treatment-related urinary, bowel, or sexual dysfunction or related quality-of-life outcomes," the authors write.

One study author reported that a brother is employed by a company that builds proton radiation facilities.

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