Tags: Cancer | cancer | radiation | therapy | prostate

Does Radiation Boost Secondary Prostate Cancer Risk?

Does Radiation Boost Secondary Prostate Cancer Risk?
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Friday, 11 March 2016 02:52 PM

Troubling news for prostate cancer patients who’ve undergone radiation. A new review of studies published in The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has uncovered a potential link between radiotherapy for prostate cancer and an increased risk of secondary cancers.

Radiation is known to cause second malignancies in patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma and some other cancers, but research into prostate cancer treatment has been inconclusive, Medical News Today reports.

But the new review supports past suggestions that radiation treatment on the prostate produces radiation “scatter” further afield, causing genetic mutations elsewhere in the body. This so-called “bystander effect” was the focus of the new research, led by Dr. Robert Nam, at the University of Toronto.

Nam carried out a meta-analysis of 21 studies that compared rates of second malignancies in prostate cancer patients who had undergone radiotherapy with those who had not.

The team found that the patients who had opted for radiotherapy had a higher incidence of bladder, colorectal, and rectal cancer. But cancers of the blood and lungs did not increase in the patients.

The authors are quick to note that the elevation in risk is minimal. For instance, the largest absolute risk was for colorectal cancer with a 0.3-4.2 percent increase. They also noted no increased risk of death among patients who underwent radiation.

"Indeed, there seems to be no survival difference between men with bladder cancers linked to previous prostate irradiation and bladder cancers identified in patients treated with surgery," the authors concluded.

Dr. Nam added that the study does not prove cause and effect, so more work will need to be done to confirm the results. But he said the findings are worth considering for patients who have a life expectancy of 20 years or more.

"This information could be particularly important to a large proportion of patients where treatment is recommended and, according to treatment guidelines, where surgery or radiation would be equal options for them to choose," he said.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, after skin cancer. It causes about 220,800 new cases and 27,540 deaths each year.

Individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer have two main treatment options: surgery or radiotherapy.

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Cancer
A new review of studies published in The BMJ has uncovered a potential link between radiotherapy for prostate cancer and an increased risk of secondary cancers.
cancer, radiation, therapy, prostate
362
2016-52-11
Friday, 11 March 2016 02:52 PM
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