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Surgery Best Bet for Prostate Cancer Survival

Study finds it outperforming other forms of treatment

MONDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery may offer the best chance of long-term survival for prostate cancer patients, a Swiss study suggests.

Researchers at Geneva University found that prostate cancer patients who had surgery were less likely to die of the disease within 10 years than men who had other types of treatment. Surgery seemed especially beneficial for younger patients or those who had prostate cancer with certain tumor cell characteristics.

The study, reported in the Oct. 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, included 844 men with localized prostate cancer. Of those, 158 had prostatectomy (surgery to remove part or all of the prostate); 205 had radiation treatment (radiotherapy); 378 chose watchful waiting (monitoring and treatment if the disease progresses); 72 had hormone therapy; and 31 had another type of therapy.

Ten-year survival rates were 83 percent for prostatectomy, 75 percent for radiotherapy; 72 percent for watchful waiting, 41 percent for hormone therapy, and 71 percent for other treatments.

"The increased mortality associated with radiotherapy and watchful waiting was primarily observed in patients younger than 70 years and in patients with poorly differentiated tumors," or tumors that have certain cellular characteristics and are more likely to spread aggressively, the study authors said.

They noted that there's ongoing debate about prostate cancer treatments and that "treatment choice is strongly influenced by patient and physician personal preferences and experiences."

Clinical trials that directly compare prostate cancer treatments could provide firm answers about which treatments are most effective.

"Until clinical trials provide conclusive evidence, physicians and patients should be informed of these results and their limitations," the study authors concluded.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about prostate cancer treatments.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Oct. 8, 2007

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