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Prostate cancer: No treatment may be the best

A recent study suggests that men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer may do better by having no treatment at all.


Tech Jackal, Jun 21, 2010

A recent study suggests that men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer may do better by having no treatment at all.

A group of researchers in Sweden have found that only a small amount of men who were diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer died from the disease. The study suggests that keeping an eye on the disease rather than treating it would be beneficial for patients with low risk prostate cancer.

The study took information from nationwide data from the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden. The data was from 6,849 men aged 70 and under. The men had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer of low or intermediate risk of progression. Of the men diagnosed, 2,021 were treated with active surveillance, 3,399 were treated with radical prostatectomy and 1,429 were treated with radiation therapy from beginning of 1997 to end of 2002.

The researchers then cross referenced their information with the Cause of Death Register, so that they could calculate numbers of deaths from prostate cancer. They found that there was a 3.6 per cent risk of dying in 10 years in the surveillance only group compared with 2.7 per cent in the curative intent group of men who had been diagnosed with low and intermediate risk prostate cancers. Of the men who were diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer, this figure was 2.4 per cent in the surveillance group and 0.7 per cent in the curative intent group.

This drew Dr Par Stattin to conclude, "A 10-year prostate cancer-specific mortality of 2.4% among patients with low-risk prostate cancer in the surveillance group indicates that surveillance may be a suitable treatment option for many patients with low-risk disease."

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