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Watchful Waiting OK for Prostate Cancer

Study Backs Strategy of Skipping Treatment for Older Men With Early-Stage Disease

Prostate Cancer: Patients Overtreated?

The researchers examined data on 9,018 men from the NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database who had been diagnosed with stage I or II prostate cancer between 1992 and 2002; the men did not receive surgery, radiation, or hormonal therapy within six months of diagnosis.

They were 66 to 104 years old when diagnosed.

As expected, men with less aggressive disease fared better than those with high-grade cancers. After 10 years, 3% to 7% of those with low- or moderate-grade disease had died of prostate cancer, compared with 23% of men with high-grade cancers.

The higher the grade of prostate cancer, the more likely it will grow and spread rapidly.

GCS spokesman Howard M. Sandler, MD, a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan, says most prostate cancer specialists think that men with the cancer are overtreated.

"This study provides additional data to support the role of active surveillance, especially in patients with low-grade disease," Sandler tells WebMD.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. It is diagnosed in more than 218,000 men and claims more than 27,000 lives each year.
GCS is co-sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Oncology and two other leading cancer care organizations.

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