New York: Researchers have found long-term evidence that actively monitoring localized prostate cancer is a safe alternative to immediate surgery or radiation.
The results, released last Saturday, are encouraging for men who want to avoid treatment-related sexual and incontinence problems, said Dr. Stacy Loeb, a prostate cancer specialist at NYU Langone Health who was not involved in the research.
The study directly compared the three approaches — surgery to remove tumors, radiation treatment and monitoring. Most prostate cancer grows slowly, so it takes many years to look at the disease’s outcomes.
“There was no difference in prostate cancer mortality at 15 years between the groups,” Loeb said. And prostate cancer survival for all three groups was high — 97% regardless of treatment approach. “That’s also very good news.”
The results were published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at a European Association of Urology conference in Milan, Italy. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Research paid for the research.
Men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer shouldn’t panic or rush treatment decisions, said lead author Dr. Freddie Hamdy of the University of Oxford. Instead, they should “consider carefully the possible benefits and harms caused by the treatment options.”