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One treatment to keep an eye on

Leading a healthy lifestyle ain't that easy...

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One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Tas » 22nd Jul, '08, 11:49

from: SMH

New prostate drug 'adds years to life'
July 22, 2008 - 1:10PM

An experimental prostate cancer drug which looks to adds years of life to men with advanced disease has been heralded as "sensational" by Australian experts.

The "once a day" pill, called abiraterone, has been found to shrink tumours and relieve pain in eight out of 10 men with aggressive and incurable prostate cancer.

Some men involved in the preliminary studies have survived for more than twice as long as expected when all other treatments failed, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Australian oncologists say the drug, still about three years from public release, is one of the most exciting developments in the prostate field in recent years.

Professor Jim Denham, a urologist at Newcastle Mater Hospital, said abiraterone had the capacity to change the future landscape of the cancer, from a deadly disease to a manageable chronic condition.

"This is fantastically significant for the 2,800 Australian men who die of the disease every year," Prof Denham said.

"If I had a supply now, I'd be giving it out straight away."

Most men who develop prostate cancer are able to manage their disease with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but in a smaller number of cases the tumours become resistant to current hormone drugs. Most of these men will survive less than 18 months.

Abiraterone is a new drug that blocks the production of male hormones and can produce a response, even in hormone-resistant tumours.

Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London tested the drug on 250 men worldwide with advanced cancer, with some living as long as 32 months.

Study leader Johann de Bono said the early indications were that the drug will be able to boost survival by many years and eventually make chemotherapy obsolete.

Prof Denham shared his positive outlook, saying "the sensational claims being thrown about are very justified".

"Ordinary hormones are very good at extending life in men whose primary treatment has failed, so you can imagine if you've got something that is a quantum leap better," Prof Denham said.

"I think it's going to wipe out a hell of a lot of these deaths."

Professor Judith Clements, head of the hormone dependent cancer program at Queensland University of Technology, said while the drug was promising it was still too early to know how well it is tolerated.

"Blocking male hormones has been seen to have severe side-effects like muscle loss, decreased libido, bone-related problems as well as high blood pressure, so we need to be cautious," Prof Clements said.

"Nevertheless, it's still quite exciting to have a whole new approach."

© 2008 AAP
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Possum » 22nd Jul, '08, 13:05

Wow - fingers crossed
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Possum » 22nd Jul, '08, 13:06

ps Not that I have balls :)
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Bender » 22nd Jul, '08, 14:09

But is this a cure?

People and Governments often crow about how we now have increased life expectancy, but, from what I've seen, many of those who now live longer due to advances in medical technology don't necessarily enjoy a great quality of life. Instead, many of them linger, and live out their extended remaining time in pain, suffering and misery. I feel there's a strong case to be made for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia.
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby azzam » 22nd Jul, '08, 14:12

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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby slinky » 22nd Jul, '08, 14:41

Possum wrote:ps Not that I have balls :)


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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Aliya » 22nd Jul, '08, 14:51

Interesting that it is a man's drug that is discovered before anything comparable for women's type cancer.
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Burbage » 22nd Jul, '08, 15:10

Is it? I'm not sure that's tue. There are certainly plenty of drugs that are specifically targetted at breast and ovarian cancers.

And it seems to me that the campaigns for breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness are also vastly more visible than the equivalent for prostate cancer.

It's also worth considering that early prevention strategies work better with women than men, since men are abysmal at going to the doctor for routine screens. Which means that drug treatment is the only way to cure men whereas early intervention via surgery is the best way to treat women.
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Tas » 22nd Jul, '08, 15:16

I'm choosing to ignore Bender's comments on that topic today. Know too many fathers who have nearly stepped of the plank or are in the middle of jumping off it before they're ready to wave bye bye because of this problem, and the surgery is pretty horrendous. So on this topic, specific to this specfic drug, it sounds optimistic and a good thing.
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby baloo » 22nd Jul, '08, 15:17

Burbage wrote: since men are abysmal at going to the doctor for routine screens.


I tend to agree here. The thought of a breast exam is nowhere near as scary as a prostate exam. Though I hear a simple blood test has been devised to test for prostate cancer now. I can't wait for the Singapore doctors to get hold of it.
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Re: One treatment to keep an eye on

Postby Possum » 22nd Jul, '08, 18:19

Baloo, blood testing has been fairly common for about the last 8 years. I would be surprised if it was not available in Singapore. Although, its not as accurate as the glove method ... :D
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