Recent Blog Articles


Long-term hormonal therapy benefits men with locally advanced prostate cancer

March 16, 2016
  • By Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

About the Author

photo of Charlie Schmidt

Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charlie Schmidt is an award-winning freelance science writer based in Portland, Maine. In addition to writing for Harvard Health Publishing, Charlie has written for Science magazine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Environmental Health Perspectives, … See Full Bio
View all posts by Charlie Schmidt


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


March 22, 2016

While these findings seem interesting, I’m a little surprised that they’re being presented as new.

My consultant at the Royal Free Hospital in London who in 2001 – when following the removal of my cancerous prostrate it was found not only that (contrary to the reading in the pre-operative biopsy) the cancer was grade 9 on the Gleason scale but also that, to judge from my PSA, some of it had survived in the margins – applied topical radiotherapy to the area, proposed following the course of radiotherapy with two years of hormone treatment. This was because, she said, the statistics showed such follow-up treatment to produce something like a 50% higher chance of success in obtaining 5+ years survival. She explained the possible side effects but advised that, with my (then) being a 62-year old who did a good bit of hard impact exercise such as hill walking, the benefits would be likely to outweigh the harm risked, and I agreed to the treatment. My PSA, tested first every three and then every six months because of the grade 9 Gleason reading, has been >0.03 ug/L since.

The conversation with my consultant took place, as I say, fifteen years ago. So I’m puzzled that, if analysis of the statistics on the benefits of hormone treatment for 2-years following topical radiotherapy to eradicate prostrate cancer, was well enough known then, it has taken till now for it to give rise to the study on which you’ve reported here.

Helmuth Meissner
March 18, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am 77 years old, have BR and Gleason score 4/4. My personal experience is the following. Not dying of prostate cancer may mask the statistics of dying of the side effects of hormonal therapy and living with a greatly decreased QOL, as it is usually abbreviated. My side effects were close to unbearable, with constant and increasing risk of pulling muscles and tendons when doing what I have been used to in terms of physical exercise. Now, I am still able to exercise, go hiking in mountains above 10,000 feet and regularly burn about 900 cal on an almost daily basis in the gym. I could not have done anything like that with continuing hormonal therapy. Obviously, this has been my personal decision and may not apply necessarily to everybody but I also do not need to take any medication whatsoever and feel good in terms of quality of life overall and go to work full-time simply because I like to do that and can do it.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.