A study suggests that men under 65 who choose prostate surgery have higher long-term survival rates than those who are put under the watchful waiting group.
Researchers from the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Study Group No. 4 studied 695 men under age 75 with early-stage prostate cancer.
Half were randomly assigned to treatment with radical prostatectomy, while the rest were assigned to watchful waiting.
During a median of 8.2 years of follow-up, 83 men in the surgery group and 106 men in the watchful-waiting group died, but this difference was primarily seen among men under age 65.
Men who got surgery were less likely than men who had no treatment to have their cancer progress locally ( 19% vs. 44% ) or spread to other parts of the body ( 15% vs. 25% ).
Radical prostatectomy reduces disease-specific mortality, overall mortality, and the risks of metastasis and local progression. The absolute reduction in the risk of death after 10 years is small, but the reductions in the risks of metastasis and local tumor progression are substantial, researchers conclude.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in US men, after skin cancer.
It is expected to strike more than 230,000 men, and kill around 30,000, in 2005.
Treatments for early-stage disease include surgery, radiation, or watchful waiting.
It can be difficult to choose the best treatment , especially for men with early-stage disease.
Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and never cause problems. Treating these cancers might not be necessary, and it could also lead to unwelcome side effects like impotence and incontinence.
Other prostate cancers, though, are aggressive and deadly. For men with these types of cancers, the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks of its side effects.
1) The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005
2) American Cancer Society, 2005