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Most Prostate Cancer Patients Don't Die From the Disease: Study
Date:7/30/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Men with prostate cancer are more likely to die from other conditions, such as heart disease, than from their cancer, a new study finds.

Living a healthy lifestyle that helps prevent chronic diseases can prolong life even among men with prostate cancer, the researchers added.

"Our study is the first to analyze specific causes of death among men with prostate cancer," said lead researcher Mara Epstein, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Most men who died from prostate cancer over several decades of the study were men diagnosed when they were older or diagnosed before the advent of screening for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), she noted.

"We hope the study will have an impact on the clinical management of men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer," Epstein said.

"We hope it will encourage physicians to use the diagnosis as a teachable moment to encourage men to modify lifestyle factors, like losing weight, increasing physical activity and stopping smoking," she explained. "We believe that adopting a healthier lifestyle may reduce a man's risk of other chronic medical conditions that ultimately account for more deaths among men with prostate cancer than the disease itself."

The report was published July 25 in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

For the study, Epstein's team used the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program and the Swedish Cancer and Cause of Death registries to collected data on the causes of death among more than 700,000 men.

U.S. deaths were for 1973 through 2008; for Swedish men it was 1961 through 2008, the team noted.

Over these periods, 52 percent of the Swedish men with prostate cancer died, as did 30 percent of American men with prostate cancer in the study.

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