Long-term evidence suggests that openly monitoring localized prostate cancer is a valid alternative to instant surgery or radiation. The findings were made public on issues, according to Dr. Stacy Loeb, a prostate cancer specialist at NYU Langone Health who isn’t involved with the research.
The study directly compared three approaches: tumor removal surgery, radiation treatment, and monitoring. Because most prostate cancers grow slowly, determining the disease’s outcomes can take many years.
“There was no difference in prostate cancer mortality between the groups after 15 years,” Loeb said. In addition, regardless of treatment approach, prostate cancer survival was high in all three groups — 97%. “That’s also very encouraging.”
The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and later presented at a European Association of Urology meeting in Milan, Italy. The National Institute for Health and Care Research in the United Kingdom funded the study.
According to lead author Dr. Freddie Hamdy of the University of Oxford, men with localized prostate cancer should not panic. They should instead “Consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of the treatment options.”
Researchers followed over 1,600 men in the United Kingdom who agreed to be randomly assigned to surgery, radiation, or active monitoring. Cancer in the patients was limited to the prostate, a walnut-sized gland in the reproductive system. Men from the monitoring group had regular blood tests, and some underwent surgery or radiation treatment.
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