Less Is More For Testicular Cancer Chemo
THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Treatment with half the typical amount of chemotherapy can still prevent the return of one type of testicular cancer, a new study suggests.
Giving patients with the “non-seminoma” form of testicular tumor just one cycle of chemotherapy was just as effective at preventing the cancer from coming back as the standard two cycles, the study found.
Cutting the amount of chemotherapy in half also reduced serious side effects that can have a lifelong impact on a patient’s health, said the team of British researchers.
The findings might prove a boon for patients, most of whom are young.
“Reducing the overall dose of chemotherapy could spare young men who have their whole lives ahead of them from long-term side effects, and also means they will need fewer hospital visits for their treatment,” said lead researcher Robert Huddart.
He spoke in a news release from The Institute of Cancer Research in London, where he’s a professor of urological cancer.
One patient who’s been treated using the lower-dose strategy said he’s already benefiting.
“I was playing [soccer] semi-professionally at the time I was diagnosed,” noted 35-year-old Kris Taylor, from Britain’s West Midlands. “Even though my prognosis was good, knowing that you have cancer is really scary, and the key thing for me was to get back to normality as soon as possible.”
Speaking in the institute news release, Taylor said he’d “already had to have time off for surgery, so when I was offered the chance to have less chemo but with no greater risk the cancer would return, I jumped at it.”
Currently, testicular cancer patients first undergo surgical removal of the affected testicle. They then choose between two cycles of chemotherapy — to destroy any cancer that may have spread to other areas — or a watch-and-wait “surveillance” approach.
If the latter route is chosen, the patient receives no chemotherapy unless their cancer comes back, at which point they receive three cycles of chemo.
Survival rates for testicular cancer are very high, but many patients are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, so having chemotherapy means they may have to live with long-term side effects, the researchers noted.