Safer alternative found in treating prostate cancer

Wednesday 15th March 2023 06:40 EDT

Scientists have found long-term evidence that is actively monitoring localised prostate cancer is a safer alternative to surgery or radiation. A prostate cancer specialist at NYU Langone Health, Dr. Stacy Loeb, who was not involved in the research, said the study results are encouraging for men who want to avoid treatment-related sexual and incontinence problems.
The study compared the three approaches - surgery to remove tumours, radiation treatment and monitoring. Most prostate cancer grows slowly, which is why, it takes many years to look at the disease’s outcomes. Loeb was quoted by a source as saying, “There was no difference in prostate cancer mortality at 15 years between the groups.”
The study results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at a European Association of Urology conference in Milan, Italy. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Research paid for the research. Prostate cancer survival for all three groups was high - 97 per cent regardless of treatment approach.
Lead author Dr. Freddie Hamdy of the University of Oxford said men diagnosed with localised prostate cancer shouldn’t panic or rush treatment decisions. They should instead “consider carefully the possible benefits and harms caused by the treatment options.” He added that a few men with high-risk or more advanced diseases need urgent treatments.
Researchers studied over 1600 UK men who agreed to be randomly assigned to get surgery, radiation or active monitoring. The patient’s cancer was confined to the prostate, a walnut-sized gland part of the reproductive system. Men in the monitoring group had regular blood tests, and some underwent surgery or radiation. Death from prostate cancer occurred in 3.1 per cent of the active-monitoring group, 2.2 per cent in the surgery group, and 2.9 per cent in the radiation group. At 15 years, cancer had spread in 9.4 per cent of the active-monitoring group, 4.7 per cent of the surgery group and five per cent of the radiation group.
Loeb said, “We have more ways now to help catch that the disease is progressing before it spreads.” Hamdy said the researchers had seen the difference in cancer spread at 10 years and expected it to make a difference in survival at 15 years, “but it did not.” He said, “This is a new and interesting finding, useful for men when they make decisions about treatments.”

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