What's being done about side effects?
Why do researchers and clinicians apparently pay so little attention to the side effects of prostate cancer treatments when these can be life changing?
Professor Christopher Woodhouse, The Royal Marsden Hospital, London:
I don't think it's actually correct that clinicians don't pay attention to the side effects of treatment. In many ways we are more conscious of the side effects than in non-cancer conditions. Our difficulty is that curing cancer is not easy. And therefore the drugs, operations and radiotherapies used are going to be highly invasive. But there’s a lot of research into minimising the side effects of treatments. Looking back over a long career, the side effects of treatments for prostate cancer have become much less severe - incontinence and erectile dysfunction amongst others. They haven't been abolished, but they are very, very much less prevalent than they were 20 years ago. So progress has been made, but I'm very sorry to say that one cannot cure cancer without creating some collateral damage. It's our job to minimise that, and there is a good deal of work being done in that area.
Read more about the possible side effects of prostate cancer treatment.