Prostate cancer kills 10,000 British men annually. Although regarded as one of the less dangerous forms of the disease, it is difficult to diagnose and is often discovered too late for surgery. Treatment, therefore, often becomes more about control than cure. Enter Casodex from AstraZeneca, an antiandrogen drug which works by lowering levels of testosterone in the bloodstream and slowing or stopping the growth of the tumour. Approved in June for use by itself as an 'early-stage' treatment, it is no more effective than existing treatments but beats them hands down in the quality-of-life stakes. It reduces common side effects, including impotence and genital shrivelling. Well received by doctors, Casodex looks set to become one of AstraZeneca's biggest earners.
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