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Prostate cancer 'game-changer' may be lifeline for black men

LIFELINE: One in four men are diagnosed with cancer

A CHEMOTHERAPY drug could extend the lives of men in the advanced stages of prostate cancer by up to two years longer, a study has found.

Docetaxal is normally only given if standard hormone treatment – which stalls the growth of tumours – has failed.

New research now proves if given earlier, it can increase life expectancy from 43 to 65 months.

One in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives – a far higher figure than the national average.

Dr Iain Frame, director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “The findings of this trial are potentially game-changing. Chemotherapy is currently one of the last resort treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

“If it is shown to have a much greater impact on survival when prescribed earlier and alongside hormone therapy, that’s incredibly exciting. We would want to see this brought in to the clinic so it can benefit men without delay.”

During the trial, being run across Britain and Switzerland, the 2,962 men who took part were given six doses of docetaxol at the start of their treatment.

Those who received the drug lived 10 months longer, but for patients where the cancer had already spread beyond the pelvis, the increase in life expectancy was 22 months.

The trial was led by Professor Nicholas James, director of the cancer research unit at the University of Warwick and consultant at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Professor James said: “We hope our findings will encourage doctors to offer docetaxel to men newly diagnosed with metastatic [cancer that has spread] prostate cancer, if they are healthy enough for chemotherapy.

“Men with non-metastatic advanced prostate cancer may also consider docetaxel as part of upfront therapy, as it clearly delays relapse.”

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