I have some good news for my prostate cancer brothers living in the UK. The NHS has modified their guidelines to allow for the use of early chemotherapy. For many years, the guidelines have prohibited chemotherapy from being used until a man has become castrate resistant (the prostate cancer no longer responds to hormone therapy (ADT).
Two years ago there was a game changing clinical trial presented at the International ASCO Conference that clearly showed that for certain men early chemotherapy extended their life. Men who were diagnosed with aggressive and metastatic prostate cancer and had not had prior ADT were shown to live longer if they started treatment with both ADT and chemotherapy, despite their being hormone sensitive.
At the most recent ASCO GU Conference many “very much in the know” oncologists had said that they now use early chemotherapy for many of their patients with aggressive prostate cancer, not just those who are ADT naive.
With the change in the NHS Guidelines men with aggressive cancer, living in the UK, should discuss this option with their consultants.
The use of early chemotherapy is generally paid for in the U.S., so those living in the U.S. should have this conversation with their oncologist.