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article imageStudy: Early chemotherapy increases survival in men

By Walter McDaniel     Jun 2, 2014 in Health
A recent study found that men who took chemotherapy early on in their treatment lived around 14 months longer than those who did not.
The word is in and the survival benefits for men who choose to take chemotherapy early on are significant. Doctors studied a control group that lived 44.0 months on average and a group that started the process earlier on that lived 57.6 months. The difference is significant and clear.
Both doctors and patients have in the past been reluctant to go into this treatment early. The side effects of it are brutal. The symptoms range from the mild such as fatigue and pain to the severe such as blood disorders. For many the pain and stress can be so severe it severely impairs their quality of life.
In extreme circumstances someone can experience intestinal problems so intense that they cannot eat or keep food down. In a worst case scenario the combination of blood disorders and nervous system damage can lead to death. In fact nearly every aspect of the human body can be damaged by this from reproduction to memory loss and the well-known hair loss. There is a mountain of scientific evidence that this should not be used except for serious and life-threatening cancers.
The fact that it is men who survive longer also has a strong scientific basis. Chemotherapy as we mentioned is extremely harsh and otherwise healthy and fully grown males have a better chance of surviving. Other studies are being done on women and children which we will surely cover in later articles here.
Unfortunately due to these risks very few people want to take the risk of using it. "Not many of them want to do chemotherapy, even though the numbers are convincing," commented Dr. Vogelzang, a doctor with the Comprehensive Care Centers of Nevada in an NY Times article.
The current stance by the United States Preventative Services Task Force is partially responsible for the attitude as they urge against routine screening for cancer in men. Their belief is that misdiagnosis leads to men being harmed by unnecessary treatments. The previously mentioned Dr. Vogelzang cautioned that this stance could lead to a larger number of men who do not have it caught early. This could mean their cancer has already developed into the dangerous metastatic form.
It remains to be seen as to whether the study will change the attitude on chemotherapy in the United States. Whether it is right or wrong to encourage early treatment in this method should be between individual doctors and patients. It is clear however that this will lead to some changes in how American culture sees the procedure.
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