A clinical trial is beginning tomorrow to discover if it is safe to give radiotherapy in two large doses, which could mean treatment for prostate cancer will take just days instead of weeks
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Men with prostate cancer could be cured within a week thanks to rapid advances in radiotherapy.
A clinical trial is beginning tomorrow to discover if it is safe to give radiotherapy in two large doses.
If successful, it would mean treatment for prostate cancer could take days instead of weeks.
Men currently require 20 radiotherapy sessions – usually carried out every weekday for a month.
Doctors at the London Royal Marsden hospital want to discover if that can be replaced by two large doses.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men, with about 48,500 diagnosed with the disease each year.
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Treatments include surgery, hormone therapy and radiotherapy.
A third of men have radiotherapy and, as long as it is given at an early stage of the disease, it cures around eight in ten of them.
The aim of the Royal Marsden’s trial is to see if it can make radiotherapy more convenient by requiring just two sessions.
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Trial leader Dr Alison Tree said patients could “come in, get cured, get on with their normal lives and forget about their cancer completely”.
Reducing the number of sessions to just two would also save the NHS millions of pounds and allow radiotherapy units to treat more patients.
The reduction in the number of sessions has been made possible by the ability to focus the radiotherapy more precisely on the tumour.
That results in a lower chance of healthy tissue being hit, meaning that more powerful doses can be given.