They’re as likely to be alive 10 years later as the men who have a radical prostatectomy—aggressive surgery to remove the prostate gland—or radiotherapy. Many of the men whose cancer was treated suffered a lower quality of life as a result, including incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Researchers from Oxford University tracked the lives of 2,664 men diagnosed with prostate cancer for 10 years; during the trial, 17 men had died, including eight who had their cancer actively monitored, four who had surgery and nine who had radiotherapy.
Although treatment seemed to make little difference to mortality, the spread of the cancer was more common in those in the active-monitoring group. Even then, the difference was marginal; the cancer had metastasized (spread) in 33 men in the active-monitoring group, in 13 of the men who had surgery, and 16 who had radiotherapy.