Further study asks Does prostate surgery do more harm than good?

A new study has confirmed the results of one presented in Cancer Watch a few months ago, suggesting that prostate surgery was a complete waste of time.

This second study (New England Journal of Medicine) was led by Dr.Timothy Wilt of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. It followed 731 men diagnosed with prostate cancer for ten years. Some had surgery, some did nothing.

At the end of the ten years 47 per cent of the ’surgery’ men died during the study compared with 50 per cent of those having nothing. This difference is not deemed statistically significant.

However, importantly, men who choose to do nothing are only half as likely to suffer from urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

"We think our results apply to the vast majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer today," said Dr. Wilt to the Chicago Tribune. 

Importantly, only 3 per cent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer actually died from it. Whether they had had surgery or not! The rest died of other causes!

When considering these findings men have to consider the accuracy of the screening PSA test too. Increasing numbers of men have had treatment when they did not even have the disease. 

July - September Cancer Watch
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