Syracuse (WSYR-TV/ABC) - The standard treatment for prostate cancer has long been surgical removal of the gland, but a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine
suggests it may be time for a change.
More than 700 men with prostate cancer were observed after the disease was detected through a PSA test. Then they were randomly assigned either to have prostate removal surgery or to be observed without treatment after 12 years.
47 percent of men who had surgery had died, while 49.9 percent of men kept under observation had died. That difference is not considered statistically significant. Men who had a PSA greater than 10 did have a significant benefit from surgery. But more than 20 percent of men had adverse effects from their prostate surgery.
The authors suggest that increased use of observation could avoid harm from surgery, especially among the majority of prostate cancer patients who have low PSA levels.