Single jab for cancer backed6th October 2008
A study by Southampton University has found that a single dose of chemotherapy is the optimal way to treat testicular cancer.
The treatments available for the condition are carboplatin or radiotherapy, but researchers said that a full trial over a long period of time was required in order to assess which one performed better.
The research, funded by the Medical Research Council, discovered that carboplatin had significantly less side effects than radiotherapy.
Testicular cancer affects a few hundred men annually in the UK, of which most are "seminomas", where the cells related to sperm production in the testicle are affected.
About 50% are discovered early on and the patient has the testicle removed. They can then have one dose of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or no treatment.
The study tracked 1,500 patients, of whom 904 were treated with radiotherapy, and 573 with carboplatin. The research team will present their results at a conference in Birmingham this week.
They found that the "rate of relapse in both groups was roughly the same". They found the danger of testicular cancer occurring in the other testicle was lessened with carboplatin treatment. This happened in two out of 573 patients on carboplatin, in comparison to 15 out of 904 who were treated with radiotherapy.
Head researcher Dr Ben Mead said that chemotherapy was better for patients: "Giving patients a carboplatin injection rather than radiotherapy is less unpleasant with fewer long-term risks.
"The initial results of the trial looked encouraging, but we needed to follow patients for another four years before we knew for sure that they had been cured."
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Title: Single jab for cancer backed
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8625
Date Added: 6th Oct 2008