Early Prostate Cancer - 10 Year Study: Mortality Rates Same with No Treatment v Surgery or Radiation
Reported on September 13, 2016 in the New England Journal Of Medicine was a 10 year study of 1643 men, ages 50 to 69, diagnosed with early prostate cancer (asymptomatic - most had a Gleason scale of 6 or less) can safely delay or completely avoid surgical or radiation treatment. That's important because there are significant life changing side effects frequently associated with open or robotic prostatectomies and radiation including, some degree of impotence and incontinence. This is a serious matter, for according to a New York Times article of September 14, 2016: "In the United States, about 181,000 cases [of prostate cancer] and 26,000 deaths are expected in 2016."
Many men with early prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy or radiation were unaware that they could safely avoid these complications through a regular active surveillance program. Since prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, active surveillance programs rely on PSA testing every 90 days, rectal exams every 6-12 months and biannual biopsies to promptly detect any growth of an early prostate cancer. More often than not, no treatment will ever be needed, but if the prostate cancer grows--only then is the surgical or radiation treatment pursued.
Recognizing that far too many men with early prostate cancer were needlessly being treated with surgery or radiation, in 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, recommended against routine screening for prostate cancer with the PSA test. They said screening of asymptomatic men leads too many men into unneeded treatment with their life changing side effects.
For information on claims involving a delay in diagnosis of cancer, unnecessary surgery or lack of informed consent before having surgery, click the links below.