Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer would do better by doing nothing-known as 'watchful waiting'-instead of immediately having aggressive treatment that can have devastating effects on their lives, a new study has suggested.
Most prostate cancers are low-risk that will probably not be killers, and yet almost every new diagnosis triggers surgery or radiation, which often results in erectile dysfunction or incontinence.
Up to 40 per cent of prostate cancer cases are over-treated, say researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Instead, watchful-waiting-which includes regular PSA testing-is an excellent approach that is under-used, say the researchers. As the vast majority of prostate cancers are low-risk, and are unlikely to be fatal, it's often better for the man to live with the cancer rather than have treatment that could very well ruin his life.
Around 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year in the US, and two million Americans have the disease. It kills around 30,000 men in the US each year.
(Source: CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 2015; 65(4): 264)