Men with testicular cancer: Their Side effects, Diagnosis and Treatment
Chemotherapy for men with testicular cancer could be made ‘shorter, kinder and cheaper’ with a new type of therapy.
Researchers testing a combination of three drugs found a single three-week cycle was just as effective as the standard six weeks normally given to patients.
Men given chemo for testicular cancer usually have it to make sure the disease does not keep spreading after the diseased testicle is removed.
In a three-week trial, four out of 10 men had side effects ? which the researchers said was ‘substantially lower’ than usual ? and the treatment was just as effective as a normal course.
‘Our study has found strong evidence to suggest testicular cancer chemotherapy can be safely reduced from two cycles to just one ? making [patients’] treatment shorter, kinder and cheaper,’ said Professor Emma Hall, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
The ICR yesterday published the results of a trial it carried out with the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS trust.
BEP chemotherapy is already used to treat testicular cancer patients but usually in two three-week cycles, rather than the single one given to patients in the trial
All the men involved had high risk stage one non seminomatous cancers, which were likely to return after treatment.
But only 1.3 per cent of men (three out of 250) had their cancers return, a rate which is similar to that among men who have six weeks of chemotherapy.
‘We tend to be focused on whether we can cure a cancer or not,’ added Professor Hall.
‘But for a disease like testicular cancer which affects young people, it is also crucial to ensure treatment does not leave patients with a lifetime of adverse effects.
‘There is an important balance to be struck in giving men enough chemotherapy to stop their testicular cancer from coming back, without giving them so much that they suffer unnecessary side effects.’
Around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year in the UK, as well as some 10,000 in the US.
This makes it a relatively rare cancer ? there are more than 55,000 (268,000 in the US) cases of breast cancer, for example ? but testicular is the most common form of the disease to affect men in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
It has a promising survival rate, with 98 per cent of British patients still alive 10 years after being diagnosed.
The ICR scientists said lower doses of chemotherapy are known to reduce side effects so halving someone’s treatment time was a positive step.
The patients in their study were followed up for around four years to check whether their cancer had returned.
Professor Robert Huddart, urological cancer expert at the ICR, said: ‘Reducing the overall dose of chemotherapy could spare young men who have their whole lives ahead of them from long-term side effects.
‘And it also means they will need fewer hospital visits for their treatment.
‘This new trial is already changing clinical practice on a global scale, and is set to improve patients? quality of life as well as reducing the cost of testicular cancer treatment.
‘Reducing the number of cycles and the dosage of chemotherapy for testicular cancer could save the NHS money and free up valuable hospital time and resources.’
Source- Daily Mail
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