Prostate Cancer Treatment May Be Better Than "Watchful Waiting" Option

A new study of 49,000 men challenges long-held beliefs about prostate cancer and runs counter to common advice that older men can select "watchful waiting" as an option instead of treatment right away. Researchers found men who had surgery or radiation treatment (such as proton beam radiation therapy) lived longer by at least 30%. In the untreated patients, median survival was 10 years after diagnosis, and those treated with radiation lived 13 years longer. Prostate cancer is primarily a disease of the elderly, with about two-thirds of those afflicted over age 65. The study was led by Dr. Yu-Ning Wong of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Her team studied Medicare records for nearly 49,000 men age 65-80 who had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men had no other cancerous cells outside the prostate. More than half of all men older than 80 have some form of cancer in their prostate, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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