Local doctors aiming to make cancer treatments more effective yet efficient

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide and it can affect anyone at any age. 

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer. Local radiation oncologists Dr. John Anderson and Dr. Jonathan Thompson are pushing for shorter radiation treatment plans to get men back on their feet sooner. 

“At first we were using it on a patient here and there. As time went on, it’s become our standard. Almost all of our patients are treated with the shorter courses of radiation,” Dr. John Anderson said. 

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Thompson are treating prostate cancer with radiation treatment in about four to five weeks, sometimes in as little as two weeks. The treatment standard used to be eight to nine weeks. 

“I would say over the last five to seven years the movement towards shorter courses of therapy has accelerated so to speak,” Dr. Jonathan Thompson said.

“We see kind of similar side effects in regard to the bladder and urination as well as the rectum and gastrointestinal side effects. It’s pretty similar between the two different types of treatment right now,” said Dr. Anderson.

According to medical reports, prostate cancer is the most frequently diangosed cancer among Louisiana men. According to Dr. Thompson, the shorter treatments are more cost effective and more convenient for patients, especially if they have to time off of work.

“In most cases there’s less toxicity from the treatment, less cost and more convenience for the patient,” said Dr. Thompson.

It’s not only for prostate cancer. Dr. Thompson and Dr. Anderson say the shorter treatments are more common for prostate cancer, but they say breast cancer, brain cancer and lung cancer can benefit from shorter treatments as well. If prostate cancer is caught early, men have about a 100 percent chance of five year survival.

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