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For Some Prostate Cancer Patients, Combo Treatment Improves Survival


4 Star


For Some Prostate Cancer Patients, Combo Treatment Improves Survival

Our Review Summary

This story details the outcomes of a recent study examining whether the addition of male hormone therapy to radiation therapy improves outcomes for men with prostate cancer, and that the risk level of the man’s prostate cancer  determines whether short term male hormone therapy is of benefit.  The clear discussion of the study results should better enable readers to understand that not all prostate cancers are the same and that the approach to treatment should take into account the risk characteristic of the individual’s cancer.


Why This Matters

It is important for men to understand that prostate cancer is not a monolith and that various therapies benefit specific groups of patients.  It is not a one size fits all prospect.  The lack of benefit of combined therapy for low-risk patients should be placed in the context that any treatment for low risk patients may be unnecessary.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of costs.  Over and over again – more than 70& of >1,500 stories we’ve reviewed fail to adequately discuss costs.  This has to change.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story provided a clear description of the potential benefit seen in the group of men with intermediate risk prostate cancer who were treatment with male hormone therapy in addition to radiation therapy alone.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The harms associated with male hormone therapy were listed.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


The story did a stellar job presenting information about the outcomes of chance of dying and chance of dying of prostate cancer in 10 years differed for men treated with either radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with male hormone therapy depending on whether their prostate cancer was low, intermediate, or high risk at diagnosis.

The story did not specifically mention that the study it was reported on was a randomized trial.  And the information provided by the lead author indicating that the chance men with low risk prostate cancer had of surviving alone was almost 99% chance should have been that they an almost 99% chance of not dying of prostate cancer.  Because the study did not include an active surveillance control group, it cannot be concluded that even radiation alone was beneficial to men with low-risk prostate cancer.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


This story did not engage in overt disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story included quotes from the lead author of the study reported on along with quotes from the expert in the field who wrote an editorial about the study which accompanied its publication.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

There was some discussion about how current radiation therapy differs from that received by the men in the study reported on.  However there was no mention of some of the other forms of radiation therapy that are often used for men with low-risk prostate cancer such as brachytherapy.

There was no discussion of alternative approaches to prostate cancer such as surgery or delay of invasive treatment called active surveillance.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story explained about the treatment used in the study reported on as well as how radiation therapy has changed since the men in the study were treated.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story was clear that the treatments in the study, with some modification, are currently available.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


Does not appear to rely solely on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 10 Satisfactory

Comments (1)

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martin gugino

August 23, 2016 at 12:40 am

Some reports have claimed that ADT added to radiation was helpful in just those cases where the radiation dose was too low.