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Misuse of Radiation Therapy In Prostate Cancer Patients

New York, NY, Oct. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - In the progression of prostate cancer, some men require treatment that is more palliative than curative. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer is one such treatment, used to relieve bone pain caused by metastasis. However, new research shows that most men are receiving significantly more radiation therapy than needed to effectively manage the bone pain caused by advanced prostate cancer.

Dr. David Samadi, MDDavid Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology, Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, supports the use of radiation therapy after robotic prostate surgery. Prostate cancer recurrence, while rare after prostate removal surgery, can be effectively treated with radiation therapy. Often used as a second line of defense, radiation therapy is also relied upon as a pain treatment for bone metastasis.

"Radiation can be a highly effective secondary treatment," said Dr. Samadi. "For some, it can eradicate prostate cancer recurrence, for others it can help manage pain."

The new radiation findings were published October 9th in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). After reviewing 2006-2009 Medicare data on more than 3,000 men with advanced prostate cancer, researchers found that only 3 percent were receiving the appropriate radiation doses for pain. Despite continued evidence that only one radiation fraction, or treatment, is needed to control pain, more than half of the men reviewed had undergone more than 10 fractions.

"The JAMA article requires careful attention," said Dr. Samadi. "Clearly, excessive treatment is not good for patients or the healthcare system. The broader issue, though, is preventing men from reaching the point of prostate cancer metastases. Robotic surgery will continue lead that effort."

When prostate cancer is left untreated it can metastasize to the bones, adrenal gland, liver, and lungs. However, when it is diagnosed early and remains localized in the prostate gland, surgery is a highly effective treatment modality. In fact, robotic prostate surgery is the only treatment that removes the cancer and prostate gland from the body. Other prostate cancer options, such as radiation therapy and hormone therapy, aim to control the disease.

Dr. Samadi's own SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) Surgery for localized prostate cancer yields a cure rate of 97 percent. With proper adherence to postoperative care, patients rarely need follow-up treatment. What's more, for the vast majority of Dr. Samadi's patients, cancer-free living includes sexual potency and urinary control.

"Long-term planning is essential to analyzing prostate cancer treatments. Men must understand the quality of life and cure rates associated with each option," expressed Dr. Samadi. "Robotic prostate surgery can preclude the need for palliative care. That's the ultimate goal."

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* The benefits of robotic surgery cannot be guaranteed as surgery is both patient and procedure specific. Previous surgical results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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