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Ask an expert: Prostate cancer video: What if the cancer is advanced?

Want to know more about prostate cancer? Dr Nick Plowman, Clinical Oncologist at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London answers some common questions about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer. Use the video clip menu below to select a question.

 

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The expert: Dr Nick Plowman

Clinical Oncologist, St Barts, London

 

Video Transcript: What if the cancer is advanced?

  

In patients with advanced prostate cancer, that is disease that has spread outside the prostate gland and for whom radiotherapy or surgery to the gland is inappropriate because the disease has already spread, then hormonal treatment is most important.

 

Prostate cancer is usually driven from the male hormone testosterone – and anti hormonal treatments though injection or tablets have proved very useful to bring about remission in such patients.

 

5 out of 6 patients with advanced prostate cancer will respond well to endocrine, that is hormonal, treatment. Where hormonal treatment has stopped working in patients with prostate cancer and the disease has spread beyond the prostate, perhaps to the bones, perhaps to the pelvic lymph nodes then the number of treatments that can be offered is more limited.

 

Radiotherapy can be useful for individual sites of disease for example a painful hip that is involved by the disease but if we are to try to get the whole disease into remission then we once again needs something that goes around the body.

 

In recent years, the chemotherapy drug Taxotere® and the second one mitozantrone have proved useful in the regard with remission rates at perhaps 25 – 35%

 

The key is to diagnose the disease early. There is no doubt this has been more possible in recent years and the cure rates are ever increasing.

 

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