Prostate cancer is the
commonest cause of death among men above 75 years of age. Prostate gland is
present around the urethra and carries urine out of the body. It constitutes an
integral part of male reproductive system.
Some of the high risk
factors of prostate cancer are family history of prostate cancer among brothers
and father, men above 6o years of age, excessive intake of alcohol, painters,
farmers, people eating too much fat, etc.
Surgery is the usual
treatment of choice for patients with prostate cancer. Timothy Wilt and
colleagues conducted a study that was published in New England Journal of
Medicine 2012, highlighting an important fact that men in early-stages of
prostate cancer get no additional benefits by prostate surgery.
The study findings
were based on 731 patients of prostate cancer with an average age of 67 years,
who were followed up from November 1994 to January 2002.
During the 15-year
long study, 354 men died but most of them died of causes other than prostate
The researchers noted
no significant statistical differences in mortality rates in surgical group
that reported 171 deaths as compared to the observation group that reported 183
In total 52 men died
due prostate cancer.
The researchers said
that surgery for prostate cancer proved beneficial in people with high-risk
early cancers having blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) above 10
nanograms per milliliter and those individuals with large sized tumors with
Dr. Timothy J. Wilt.
The lead author of the study and the professor of Medicine at Minneapolis
Veterans Affairs Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research mentioned, "Many men, when they hear about a diagnosis
of prostate cancer, become fearful. They think if they aren't treated they will
die from it. Our results clearly demonstrate that's not true. The overwhelming
majority will not die of their disease if it's left untreated."
The researcher said
that the study has given people with early-stage of the cancer more confidence
to opt watchful waiting as an option beside surgery.
About two-third of the
patients, suffering from prostate cancer had low PSA values and 90 percent of
them had received early interventions with radiotherapy or surgery.
The favorable effects
of observation on bone metastases, mortality, erectile and urinary dysfunction
and quality of life should be encouraged. Hence, the adverse effects of
unnecessary biopsies can be averted.
The researchers concluded that surgery could be helpful in
reducing mortality among patients with high PSA values and in high-risk tumor
patients but not among individuals with PSA values of 10 nanograms per
milliliter or less or in people with low-risk tumors.
Radical Prostatectomy versus Observation for
Localized Prostate Cancer; Timothy Wilt et al; N Engl J Med 2012; 367:203-213