The American Society of Clinical Oncology has recently updated its clinical practice guidelines for the management of initial hormone therapy with men with advanced P.C.

The guide line panel found that there is a 17% reduction in the mortality rate from prostate cancer if hormone therapy is started early in the disease process, however, the counter balance is that there is a 15% increase in mortality from non prostate cancer causes in this same group! There is no over all survival difference between those men who started hormone early in their disease as opposed to those men who elected to wait.

So, if you are newly diagnosed, don’t let your Oncologist automatically put you on a hormone blockade. A hormone blockade may cause negative side effects, both life threatening and ones that threaten your quality of life. Starting on a therapy course which includes the use of a hormone blockade should be a carefully thought out decision and discussed with your physician.

The guideline update appears in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (April 2, 2007).

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW