Surgery for early-stage prostate cancer could be unnecessary

Many men in Arizona have to deal with the affects of prostate cancer every year. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the second-most common type of cancer diagnosed in men. For those people contemplating treatment, a study that tracked men with early-stage prostate cancer has yielded informative results. The researchers concluded that surgical treatment produced negligible benefits compared to patients who only watched the disease for problems.

Starting in the mid-1990s, physicians typically treated the cancer with surgery and radiation. The development of the prostate-specific antigen blood test increased the number of early-stage diagnoses, and physicians reasoned that removing or irradiating a tumor before it spread would prolong life. The results of the Prostate Cancer Intervention Versus Observation Trial, however, showed that the men who only observed the disease had statistically similar outcomes to the men who received treatment, which sometimes caused side effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

A co-author of the study said that a patient could have an “excellent prognosis without surgery.” He expressed his hope that the study would discourage physicians from recommending surgery and radiation to patients who might receive no benefit from the treatment.

A person confronted by a serious diagnosis like cancer might rely on the opinion of a physician when making important decisions about treatment. If care leads to a worsened medical condition, then the patient could talk to an attorney about the possibility of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney could work with an independent expert to determine if the care met accepted standards. After preparing the evidence, the lawyer could approach the medical provider and seek a settlement for medical expenses, pain and lost income.