Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men. More often than not, prostate cancer develops slowly over time, and the majority of men with this form of cancer do not die from it.
In fact, a new study recently released by The New England Journal of Medicine is changing the way prostate cancer may be treated in men living with the disease.
The study—which followed men with prostate cancer over the course of 10 years—found that there was no difference in death rates between men who were chosen randomly to receive early treatment (i.e., surgery or radiation) versus those whose cancer was only monitored for change. Active monitoring includes regular visits with a physical exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and biopsies when necessary.
Although the death rates didn’t vary, the cancer was more likely to spread in those actively monitored than those receiving early treatment. (It should be noted if the disease progressed in patients being monitored, treatment was given.)
Overall, the death rate in the study was small: Approximately one percent of the patients in the study died 10 years after the diagnosis.