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Monday, December 22, 2014

Is It an Option? Part 2

Posted by William on July 3, 2012

Traditional options such as prostatectomy — surgical removal of all or part of the cancerous prostate gland — or radical prostatectomy — removal of the entire gland and some surrounding tissue — and various types of radiation can carry a heavy price, such as impotence and/or incontinence. In addition, the cancer may recur, requiring further treatment. Another available option is called watchful waiting. It involves closely monitoring a man’s condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change.

a€?For men with localized prostate cancer, there’s no treatment that will make you a better man. They all have side effects,? says E. David Crawford, M.D., a professor of surgery and radiation oncology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colo. He’s also associate director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and director of the Clinical Cancer Unit of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Now a Los Angeles, Calif., physician is proposing yet another type of treatment as a primary option: a hormone therapy called triple hormone blockade. For more than 50 years, hormone therapy has been used as a secondary treatment for men whose cancer has recurred after surgery or radiation, or whose cancer has metastasized — spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. Why not, he suggests, treat men with the triple hormone blockade therapy first and if that doesn’t work, then move on to surgery or radiation?

Robert L. Leibowitz, M.D., a board-certified hematologist and oncologist with a sub-specialty in the treatment of prostate cancer, and a former clinical instructor and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, has been treating patients with a 13-month, three-drug hormone therapy called triple hormone blockade with success for nine years. A study of his findings was published in the April 2001 issue of medical journal, The Oncologist. We use the same hormone-blocking medicines urologists or radiologists use after their treatments fail,a€? he says.

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