The following letter was sent to Time Magazine by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) and appears in the April 29, 1996 issue. It is reprinted here with ASTRO's permission.
Time Magazine Letters
Time & Life Building
New York, NY 10020
March 28, 1996
To the Editor:
While your article on prostate cancer (Medicine, April 1) successfully educates the public about the need for diagnosis and treatment, it does a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of men treated with radiation therapy by failing to include remarks from specialists in the field. Radiation is a standard therapy for this disease and is performed as often as surgery.
Results from several major institutions show that 40% to 60% of all patients treated with radiation for all stages of prostate cancer have a favorable prostate-specific antigen test five years after treatment. Results for patients comparable to surgical candidates are even better. The American Urological Association, which has analyzed all the available data on radiation and surgery, has concluded that "there was no clear-cut evidence for the superiority of any one treatment." Please set the record straight on the success of radiation as an important treatment option for prostate cancer patients.
Steven A. Leibel, M.D., President American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology William U. Shipley, M.D., Member of the ASTRO Board American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology