According to a new study presented at the world's largest Cancer conference, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, combining two existing Prostate Cancer therapies could help to drastically extend the life of men with the disease. The study was done as part of the Stampede trial, which is an ongoing randomized trial taking place in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The lead author of the abstract study, Nicolas James, stated that, "These are the most powerful results I've seen from a prostate cancer trial."

What did the trial discover?

The prostate cancer trial involved a group of 2,000 men and combined two existing therapies, which were standard hormone therapy and abiraterone.

That is a drug that is usually reserved for cancer patients whose disease has stopped responding to the hormone therapy. The combination of these two therapies were found to extended the life of men with advanced, high risk versions of prostate cancer by 37%. However, those who received this combination had mildly stronger side effects, especially liver and cardiovascular issues.

The use of abiraterone was found to lower the chance of relapse by 70% and reduce the possibility of serious bone complications by 50%. Men that were only given abiraterone therapy survived 83% of the time, compared to 76% of men who only used the standard hormone therapy. The positive benefits from combining both forms of cancer therapies has experts saying that upfront care for those diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer should be changed.

What is prostate cancer and how many men does it affect?

A man's prostate is the small walnut-sized gland that makes seminal fluid. Prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. Basically, all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (malignant tumor formed from glandular structures) and develop from the gland cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 176,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 27,000 men die because of the disease every year in America. The only cancer that more commonly affects men in the United States is non-melanoma skin cancer. This disease is also the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, only behind lung cancer. The risk of getting the disease only increases with age.