Prostate Cancer Shocker: Surgery Does Nothing?

Specialists await full results of 12-year study
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2012 1:54 PM CDT
Dr. Gautam Jayram assists during prostate cancer surgery, watching an internal video of the patient’s body, at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago.   (AP Photo/University of Chicago Medical Center, Bruce Powell)
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(Newser) – Cancer experts are nervously awaiting the publication of a new study that may revolutionize the treatment of prostate cancer, the Independent reports. First revealed at a urology conference in February, the 12-year study of 731 men showed that standard prostate cancer surgery did nothing to prolong life. "The only rational response to these results is, when presented with a patient with prostate cancer, to do nothing," says a British specialist.

In fact, prostate cancer is so slow-growing that in 50% of British cases, men end up dying of something else. Some specialists question whether it should even be labeled a "cancer" at all. Others are casting doubt on the new study, saying it focused on older, particularly low-risk men, who would never have had surgery in the UK anyway. "We would offer milder treatment such as radiotherapy or watchful waiting," says a British urologist. "We are better than the US in putting men on surveillance." (In other prostate cancer news, read about a new procedure that may come without side-effects.)

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