Prostate Cancer :: In UK prostate cancer patients getting unnecessary hormone therapy

A senior UK oncologist Chris Hamilton admitted that thousands of men with prostate cancer are being given unnecessary and potentially harmful drug treatment to clear hospital waiting lists in UK.

Healthcare system of UK Government targets means prostate cancer patients often head the queue for radiotherapy treatment – even when they don’t need it – ahead of other cancer patients. But hospitals face penalties if prostate cancer patients are not given treatment within four weeks, said UK oncologist Chris Hamilton.

By giving hormones to some prostate patients, doctors can tick the box saying they’ve started treatment. This allows them to move prostate patients down the waiting list to make way for other cancer sufferers who need radiation therapy more urgently, he said.

Dr. Hamilton estimates that nationally eight per cent of prostate patients could be getting hormone therapy they don’t need – around 2,500 men a year. But the drugs can trigger side effects such as erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and gastrointestinal problems.

Prostate cancer is a disease in which cells in the prostate gland become abnormal and start to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy among adult males in Western countries. Although prostate cancer is often very slow growing, it can be aggressive, especially in younger men. Given its slow growing nature, many men with the disease die of other causes rather than from the cancer itself.

Prostate cancer affects African-American men twice as often as white men; the mortality rate among African-Americans is also two times higher. African-Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer of any world population group.

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