Prostate cancer: - First, do nothing
If you're a man aged 70 who's just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, what should you do? The answer is 'nothing' - and our opinion, which we've held for years, has finally been vindicated in new research findings.
Prostate cancer is a very slow-acting cancer and you're as likely to die with it as from it if it begins late enough in life. It's a harder call for men aged 55 and younger, but they also need to weigh up the disadvantages of surgery, which can include impotence and incontinence.
Oncologists are usually keen to attack the cancer aggressively - after all, that's what they are there to do - but invariably it's the wrong approach. Researchers from the University of Connecticut reviewed the progress of 767 men who were aged between 55 and 74 when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and discovered that men with low-grade prostate cancer had only a slight risk of dying from the disease, even 20 years after diagnosis.
The key seems to be the type of prostate cancer diagnosed. High- or low-grade will pretty much determine your risks, but even men with high-grade cancer still have a life expectancy of 10 years without intervention.