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September 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 7)

Men who don’t have their prostate cancer treated are living just as long
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Men who don’t have their prostate cancer treated are living just as long image

Men who opt to just have their prostate cancer monitored are living as long as those who instead choose aggressive treatment—and they’re also enjoying a better quality of life, new research has discovered.

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.


References

(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2016; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1606220)

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