Thursday, July 19, 2012

Many men with prostate cancer can avoid early surgery

New research suggests that many men with prostate cancer do not need immediate treatment, especially if they have low PSA scores or low-risk tumors that are unlikely to grow and spread. The multi-center study, published July 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared prostate cancer surgery soon after diagnosis to observation in men with early-stage prostate tumors detected by PSA screening. 

Overall, most men did not benefit from surgery – it did not reduce the likelihood they would die from prostate cancer or other causes. But the findings indicate that surgery did reduce mortality in two groups of men – those with relatively high PSA levels (greater than 10 ng/mL) and potentially those with higher-risk, more aggressive tumors.  

“For most men with low-risk prostate cancer, there is no evidence they need immediate treatment,” says study co-author Gerald Andriole, MD, chief of urologic surgery at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “But the data suggest that men with high PSA levels and those with more aggressive tumors likely benefit from early surgery, and these men should undergo treatment because their tumors are more likely to be lethal if left alone.”

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