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Prostate Cancer Surgery May Not Always Up Survival

Study Finds Surgery Doesn't Cut Death Risk Compared to Watchful Waiting for Early-Stage Prostate Cancer

Advice to Patients

Thompson says that men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are lucky in at least one respect: Because the cancer is typically slow-growing, they have plenty of time to make a careful decision about how to handle it.

"For most prostate cancers, you have the luxury of taking the time to make a very informed and very methodically processed determination," he says.

The first thing to consider is your age. One in six men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Doctors rarely recommend treatment for those diagnosed over 75 years of age.

Other factors to consider are your family history and the aggressiveness of disease. A PSA over 10, and a Gleason score over 7, are some indicators of a more aggressive cancer. A Gleason score is based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

"Over a 10-year period, a person who doesn't have an aggressive prostate cancer is not going to benefit from an operation," Carter says.

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