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Surgery reduces risk of mortality due to prostate cancer even for low-risk groups
Date:5/5/2011

A Swedish research team partly consisting of researchers from Uppsala University followed a group of prostate cancer patients in the Nordic region for 15 years. The study found, among other things, that surgery reduces the risk that men with prostate cancer (even those with low-risk tumours) will die within 15 years. The results were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers followed Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic prostate cancer patients. Radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) was performed on 347 randomly chosen male patients, while "watchful waiting" (careful monitoring combined with hormone treatment in cases of disease progression) was pursued with respect to 348 others. The men averaged 65 years of age when diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The results, which were analysed every third year, have significantly impacted how patients are treated today, both nationally and internationally. The study represents the only randomised investigation thus far to demonstrate that surgery reduces the risk of mortality from prostate cancer. The majority of the men had palpable tumours; 12 percent had non-palpable tumours that could only be identified using PSA (a marker for prostate cancer).

After 15 years, 48 per cent of the men in the surgical group had died, against 58 per cent in the watchful-waiting group. Of patients in the surgical group, 16 per cent died due to prostate cancer, against 23 per cent in the watchful-waiting group. The risk of cancer spreading beyond the prostate gland was 12 per cent lower for those who received surgery.

It was primarily younger men who benefitted from surgery. Analysis on the basis of age groups showed that men younger than 65 benefitted most. Among older men, there was no significant difference between the surgical group and the watchful-waiting group, presumably due to the fact that older men run a greater risk of mortality due to
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Contact: Anna Bill-Axelson
anna.bill.axelson@akademiska.se
46-705-323-212
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

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