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3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy Helps Prostate Cancer Patients Retain Normal Bladder and Bowel Functioning: Long Term Quality of Life Study

PHILADELPHIA (November 3, 1999) -- The first long term quality of life study for prostate patients treated with three dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) shows men enjoy a similar quality of life related to bladder and bowel function as that of the normal population. The study was conducted at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa. and was presented today at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

For the study, two health status surveys evaluating bowel and bladder functioning were mailed to 195 prostate cancer patients who treated with 3DCRT between 1992 and 1995 at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The mailing yielded a high response rate of 62%. Half of the respondents were treated with 3DCRT to the prostate and seminal vesicles. The other half was treated to the whole pelvis. The mean age was 68.

There was no significant difference in the bother that bladder symptoms caused men treated with radiation therapy as compared to men without prostate cancer. Specifically, two percent of the patients reported urinary incontinence as a "moderate to big" problem which is identical to that reported in men without prostate cancer.

No patients reported bowel dysfunction as a big problem, but patients do tend to have more "very-small to moderate" bother from bowel dysfunction than that of the normal population (59% versus 33%).

"This study is the first of its kind and shows how effective 3DCRT is in terms of quality of life," explains Alexandra L. Hanlon, Ph.D., senior statistician at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "We've seen a number of studies showing how well 3DCRT performs in curing prostate cancer. Now we can also show that it allows most patients to maintain their quality of life in terms of bladder and bowel control."

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 36 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and community outreach programs.


Note to editor: The study is to be presented by Dr. Hanlon at the ASTRO annual conference in San Antonio, Texas on November 3, 1999. For more information about the ASTRO conference, call Keri Sperry at (703) 295-6775.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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