Active surveillance of low-risk prostate cancer is as good as treating it in many cases, and spares patients such distressing treatment side effects as sexual-functioning problems, according to a study on the quality of life impact of various treatments.
Surgery, although performed with robotic techniques designed to limit prostate damage, is associated with sexual side effects and urinary leaks, the study found. Other treatments were linked to different kinds of complications.
The ASCENDE-RT (Androgen Suppression Combined with Elective Nodal and Dose Escalated Radiation Therapy) study was the first randomized clinical trial comparing brachytherapy to the traditional use of external beam radiation therapy to treat intermediate and high risk Prostate Cancer patients over a period of between 6 to 9 years.
The results show a significant increase in survival rates with an average of 50% of patients showing progression free survival when treated with LDR brachytherapy.