Prostate Cancer Treatment Options : Less is More

prostate cancer treatment options

Favorable survival in patients opting for conservative prostate cancer treatment options


A new study finds favorable survival in patients opting for more conservative prostate cancer treatment options.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, risk being exceedingly high in old age. Treatments for the cancer can be very aggressive and run the risk of causing serious side-effects like incontinence and impotence. This is why it isn’t the preferred option in slow-growing forms of prostate cancer. A new study from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey finds favorable survival in patients opting for more conservative prostate cancer treatment options.

Favorable Survival using Conservative Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Earlier research performed by the study’s lead author Grace Lu-Yao, PHD, MPH, found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the early 90’s had significantly improved survival compared to people diagnosed with the same disease decades earlier. This follow-up study investigated long-term survival of prostate cancer patients, following the patients for a total of 15 years. Since prostate cancer is so slow-growing the increased follow-up time could help clarify how different treatments affect survival in patients.

The study included 33,137 medicare patients aged 65 and over diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer (T1 or T2) between 1992 and 2009. Men in the study initially only received conservative treatments for their disease meaning no surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or cryotherapy.

The data showed that men with a Gleason score (a measure of how aggressive a cancer is) of between five and seven (max is ten) had a lower risk (5.7%) of dying from prostate cancer over 15 years compared to men 75 and older (10.1%). 65-74 year old men with the highest Gleason scores, between eight and ten, had a 22% risk of dying over 15 years compared to 27% in men 74 and older.

Risk of dying from the prostate cancer remained surprisingly stable between year 6 and 16 from diagnosis. The data also found that people who were otherwise healthy were (not surprisingly) less likely to perish from the cancer.

“By having additional data available to support conservative management, doctors can further educate their patients about survival outcomes and possibly help avoid treatments that may put the patient at risk.” Lead author Grace Lu-Yao.

Image Credit: runge.marius via, CC BY-SA 2.0