Substance Abuse Complicates Prostate Cancer Treatments

prostcancMen suffering from advanced prostate cancer and have a substance abuse problem are exhibiting more complications than those who don‘t abuse alcohol or drugs, according to a new study. Researchers have identified that men who have advanced prostate cancer and also exhibit substance abuse behaviors are having adverse reactions to treatment.

In order to conduct the study, Sumedha Chhatre and his coworkers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia isolated participants that admitted to a substance abuse problem prior to getting diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers then looked at those men one year after their cancer diagnosis and then four years after their cancer diagnosis. This allowed them to see patterns that the cancer patients with substance abuse problems were exhibiting. The substance abusers were then compared to men with advanced prostate cancer that did not have a substance abuse problem.

Chhatre and colleagues took results from medical test performed on 14,277 men with advanced prostate cancer. Of those men, the ones with an additional diagnoses of substance abuse were 2.3 times more likely to be hospitalized. These men were also 2.6 times more likely to make an outpatient hospital visit. Substance abusers with advanced prostate cancer were 1.7 times more likely to visit an Emergency Room. Additionally, those men with a substance abuse problem in addition to cancer had a 70 percent increase in the cost of treatment. This may be attributed by more frequent hospital visits.

Researchers wrote that it was safe to assume that men with drug and alcohol problems along with advanced prostate cancer pose a problem in that their treatments are not as effective and efficient. These men have an additional medical condition that prevents treatments from being as powerful as it is with men who are not ingesting drugs and alcohol. Researchers are recommending that more screening is done in men with advanced prostate cancer so as to identify those with a drug or alcohol problem.