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Outcomes Vary for Prostate Cancer Patients Choosing Surgery; Overall, No Treatment Proven Superior
Date:2/4/2008

/CAUTION -- ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 5 P.M. EST MONDAY, FEB. 4/

/ADVANCE/ ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients who undergo complete prostate removal are less likely to experience urinary incontinence or other complications if the operation is done by an experienced surgeon in a hospital that does many of the procedures, according to a report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

However, the new report concludes that scientific evidence has not established surgery or any other single treatment as superior for all men. The analysis compared the effectiveness and risks of eight prostate cancer treatments, ranging from prostate removal to radioactive implants to no treatment. An article based on the report is posted today in the online version of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"This report is a reminder that patient outcomes may vary according to treatment settings," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "But this analysis also underscores a broader message: when it comes to prostate cancer, we have much to learn about which treatments work best, and patients should be informed about the benefits and harms of treatment options."

The prostate gland, which is about the size of a walnut, is located just below the bladder. It makes and stores the liquid that carries sperm. In 2007, about 218,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 27,050 men died from the disease. The primary goals of treatment are to determine whether an intervention is needed to prevent death and disability and to minimize complications. Treatment choices often take into account a patient's age, race, ethnicity, health status, family history, patient preferences and how quickly the cancer is likely to spread.

The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer has nearly doubled to 20 percent since the late 1980s, due mos
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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