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A long-term study has demonstrated that the hormonal drug goserelin acetate (Zoladex), when taken immediately after radiation therapy, significantly decreases mortality rates for prostate cancer patients. The results of the 10-year study showed that, among 977 patients with locally advanced prostate cancer, the 49% who were treated with goserelin acetate immediately following radiation therapy were alive 10 years later, compared with the 39% of patients who waited until their tumors worsened before taking the drug. In addition to the positive survival rates, the drug affected the growth of the tumor. Only 22% of the men in the goserelin-after-radiation group experienced an increase in tumor size, compared with 38% of the men in the delayed group. Side effects of this hormonal drug include possible bone loss and loss of libido. The benefits, however, outweigh the side effects, according to the researchers. Study coauthor Colleen Lawton, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin concluded, "Men diagnosed with prostate cancer can now expect to live longer and live a life free from a recurrence of their disease."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.