For women that have a man suffering from prostate cancer ( the #2 most common form of cancer that affects 200,000 more men each year!), NEJM's Oct 7, 2004 issue has several revealing articles regarding new medication test results for advanced cases of this killer cancer. Normally, the cancer has been treated with heat (ablation). For patients for whom heat isn't enough, and whom are at risk of surgery, the normal chemotherapy regimen is with mitoxantrone and prednisone. These drugs disable the naturally occurring androgens (steroids) in the body that the cancer needs to survive. Though some improvement in increased life span and overall quality of life have been seen, new studies have been completed:

  1. A split study of 800 men (half received mitoxantrone/prednisone and half received docetaxel/prednisone), the docetaxel group showed a greater increase in life span and quality of life.
  2. Another was then completed with 800 men comparing the docetaxel/prednisone group with the docetaxel/estramustane. The docetaxel/estramustane group showed a significant improvement in life span and quality of life. However, this medication showed twice as high of an incidence of adverse side effects (High blood pressure, flu-like symptoms, nausea, etc).

It is encouraging to know this work is ongoing, with mostly positive results, giving cancer patients some new options!

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