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Delaying radiation therapy has little effect on survival among prostate cancer patients

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 18, 2020
Rad Oncology Risk Management

Little difference in survival outcomes was also found among men with high-risk or very high-risk PC, with rates calculated to be 58.9%; 51.7%; 54.8%; and 52.4%, respectively. Total deaths were 10,959.

"If we consider the potential (and oftentimes very real) risks of COVID-19 for patients with cancer -- who are often at higher risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes -- these findings may allow deferral of radiation to a safer time when COVID-19 is less rampant," said Dee. "Of course, it is critical to involve patients in this decision-making process and weigh their own pros and cons, as well as to consider the patient's whole context, that is, their prostate cancer must be viewed in the context of their other comorbidities and risks such as ongoing COVID-19 transmission in the community."

He adds that he and his colleagues will also assess how delaying radiation impacts survival for other types of cancer, head and neck and gastrointestinal malignancies. "Interestingly, for some cancers, delays in treatment have been shown to negatively impact survival. Helping to characterize those -- and to further study which cancers are not negatively impacted by treatment delays -- may help guide decisions patients make regarding delaying treatment. It would be interesting to assess other outcomes as well, including quality of life, need for more extensive treatment after the delays, and others."

Funding was provided by the National Cancer Institute.

The findings were published in JAMA Oncology.

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