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Treatment Arsenal for Prostate Cancer Expands

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Published on June 19, 2014

New research strongly suggests that giving chemotherapy early on to men with advanced prostate cancer increases survival. Dr. Heather Cheng, a prostate cancer expert from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, talks about results from the institution wide ECOG 3508 trial and helps us understand the evidence behind why treating a subset of men with advanced prostate cancer early on may be quite significant to prolonging life with minimal side effects. Dr. Cheng sits down with reporter, Carol Preston, at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting to shed more light on why these results are yet another tool in the arsenal of treatment for prostate cancer.

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Transcript | Treatment Arsenal for Prostate Cancer Expands

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Will men with advanced prostate cancer benefit, live longer if they receive chemotherapy earlier?  That's a big question.  A lot of research is going on.  Some of it is led by a specialist from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Dr. Heather Cheng.  We caught up with her at the big ASCO convention of cancer experts.  Here is Dr. Cheng and our reporter Carol Preston. 

So these are men who we wouldn't necessarily recommend surgery or even definitive radiation because it is already a systemic disease, meaning it's gotten outside of the prostate.  It has spread to locations elsewhere, so we want to treat it everywhere it is.  And in the past we've used hormone therapy alone or androgen deprivation therapy as the mainstay of that treatment, but the results from this study have really been dramatic in showing that in the right patient population giving chemotherapy very early on makes an enormous difference. 

And we are—this is very—a huge difference, 17 months for the patients with the greatest amount and most widespread metastases.  So people who had liver metastases, people who had lung metastases, there was a 17 month difference in—if you got—in the arm or in the population that go—that were treated with hormones alone versus the ones that had both hormone plus chemotherapy.

Carol Preston:

Now there's good data, so now we can have the conversation and say we know what the benefit is, we know what the risk is, let's make a better educated decision, whereas before we didn't know what the benefit was, but the toxicity was clear.  So I think that's—part of the reluctance is not knowing the benefit but knowing that you're going to make somebody feel sicker. 

On location at ASCO 2014, I'm Carol Preston for Patient Power. 

I'm Andrew Schorr.  Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.