Prostate cancer treatment may soon involve a new drug which could delay the need for invasive procedures.
A new study by a team working at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto found that dutasteride – which is already used to treat enlarged prostates – could reduce the need for radiotherapy and surgery, which can sometimes lead to impotence and incontinence.
The doctors looked at 302 men between the ages of 48 and 82 who were treated with the drug or a placebo for three years.
Results revealed that 38 per cent of those treated with dutasteride saw their tumours grow compared to 48 per cent who received the placebo.
The report was published in the Lancet where, in an accompanying editorial, professor Chris Parker stated: "These data are consistent with the hypothesis that dutasteride reduces the volume of low-grade prostate cancers."
According to Macmillan, the risk of prostate cancer increases as men get older, with an estimated 80 per cent of those over the age of 80 suffering from the disease.