Colin Sandeman didn’t hesitate when he was asked to participate in Australia and New Zealand’s biggest cancer trial.
Today, at the age of 75, he has returned to his normal life – sailing, canoeing and tending to his beloved bees.
“I don’t think about having prostate cancer now,” he said.
“It’s in the past. I’m normal, and so many other blokes are too – they’re curing a lot of people.”
The RADAR trial, conducted through TROG Cancer Research, a world-leading trials group based in Newcastle, will spare males long-term side effects associated with lengthy testosterone suppression treatment of 28 to 36 months, which has been commonly used alongside radiotherapy across the globe.
The trial monitored more than 1,000 men at 23 treatment centres in Australia and New Zealand over a 10-year period.
Researchers targeted locally advanced cancers, which account for more than 50% of all prostate cancer deaths, in a bid to reduce fatality rates and prevent suffering.
All men received six months of testosterone suppression therapy, using the drug leuprorelin, followed by radiotherapy.
Participants were then randomly allocated to have either an additional 12 months of testosterone suppression or no further treatment.
The trial found that the combined 18 months option, plus radiotherapy, emerged as the most effective, compared to the six-month period.
Professor Jim Denham, who headed the landmark trial, said the findings showed a 30% reduction in deaths due to prostate cancer, as well as a 40% decrease in cancer spreading to other areas of the body.
“We also found that the men who received the 18 months of treatment did not experience more side effects or impaired quality of life factors than those who received the six months of hormone treatment,” he said.
“The confirmation that quality of life in men treated on the RADAR trial was not inferior to quality of life outcomes in Australian men of the same age, 10 years after treatment, came from the 421 men who participated our ‘Life ten years after prostate cancer treatment’ sub-study.
“Around 17,000 Australian men each year are diagnosed with prostate cancer and we are constantly looking at ways to beat this disease, which sees so many men go undiagnosed for a long period of time.”