The study: Researchers looked at the long-term effectiveness of treatment with a single dose of chemotherapy compared with radiation therapy, the current standard of care, for men with early-stage testicular cancer. The men who participated in this study had a type of tumor called a seminoma and were first treated with surgery to remove the affected testicle. In this study, 573 men received a single dose of the chemotherapy carboplatin (Paraplatin), and 904 men received daily radiation therapy for 2 or 3 weeks.
The results: After five years, 5% of the men who received chemotherapy and 4% of the men who received radiation therapy had a recurrence (cancer that comes back after treatment). After approximately seven years, men who received carboplatin were 78% less likely to develop a tumor in the other testicle. One man who received radiation therapy died of testicular cancer, and none of the men who received carboplatin died of testicular cancer. The occurrence of side effects was low for both types of treatment, although 24% of men who received radiation therapy experienced a lack of energy 4 weeks after starting treatment, compared with 7% of those who received carboplatin.
What this means for patients
“Personal preference is becoming a more important factor in determining the best treatment for men with testicular cancer,” said lead author Tim Oliver, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medical Oncology at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, England. “This study established surgery followed by carboplatin chemotherapy as a safe new option for men who have early-stage seminoma and would prefer a treatment that lasts a shorter time.”
What to ask your doctor
- What type of testicular cancer do I have?
- What is the stage of the cancer?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks and benefits of these treatments?
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