A new report on Swedish men with prostate cancer suggests that a lot more American men could safely choose to monitor their disease instead of seeking immediate radiation treatment or surgery.
The study is published in JAMA Oncology. Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center report that men diagnosed with prostate cancers are likely to choose monitoring once presented with the choice.
The monitoring option relies on regular blood tests, physical exams, and the sampling of prostate tissue to screen for signs of a tumor’s growth.
This option can reduce risks of sexual dysfunction as well as bowel and bladder problems that often found in traditional therapies.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from Sweden’s National Prostate Cancer Register, one of the largest national databases in the world (and for which nothing comparable exists in North America).
They found that from 2009 to 2014, more Swedish men with very low-risk cancer chose disease monitoring (from 57% to 91%), and men with low-risk cancer choosing this option rose from 40% to 74%.
Meanwhile, in both groups, much less men chose to simply wait, do no further testing, and postpone therapy unless symptoms develop.
Based on the finding, researchers suggest that if the majority of men in Sweden have adopted monitoring strategy for low-risk prostate cancer, more American men may choose this option if it were presented to them.
In addition, the findings should encourage physicians and cancer care professionals in the United States to offer such close supervision and monitoring to their patients with low-risk disease.
This can avoid side effects in prostate treatment. Recent studies have shown that some men with early-stage prostate cancer who opted for treatment later regretted it because of lingering problems, such as incontinence and impotence.
A large study also shown no difference in death rates between men choosing monitoring and men choosing immediate treatment.
News source: NYU Langone Medical Center.
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