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Share this article Share In the latest study, British and Swedish researchers looked at whether surgery combined with this hormonal therapy is better than the therapy alone.

Half of the 1, men studied had their prostate removed before starting testosterone-blocking drugs. The other half simply had the drug treatment.

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Some men given drugs alone died during the course of the study — twice as many as in the stages of prostate cancer given surgery and medicine. Although radical prostatectomy, or prostate removal, is used in earlier stages of the disease, it is not normally carried out once the cancer has spread throughout the body.

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This is because it is thought that the cancer has such a grip that there is little point in trying to contain it. There are also concerns about putting patients through surgery, plus prostate removal can cause distressing side effects such as impotence and incontinence.

The conference heard that recent research has focused on developing new drugs.

However, combining surgery with the standard treatment seems more promising.