A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the drug enzalutamide can significantly extend life and improve its quality for men with advanced disease. According to Dr. Erik Goluboff of Beth Israel Medical Center, "there was a five month increase in life in the men who got this drug versus the men who did not."
The drug blocks testosterone from stimulating prostate cancer cells. Researchers found it was so successful, they stopped the study and offered the treatment to the patients that weren't taking it.
A second study finds that measuring the PSA levels in men between the ages of 55 and 69 could lead to fewer deaths from prostate cancer. But treating the cancer too early and to aggressively would have a big impact on the quality of a patient's life.
Dr. Goluboff says, "this gain in years lived is discounted by the fact that many of these men had complications from their treatment ."
Complications can include erectile dysfunction and incontinence. A federal task force has recommended against giving the PSA test, saying that routine screening often leads to tests and treatment that can be unnecessary and harmful. The PSA test measures a protein to determine the likelihood of prostate cancer.