Prostate Cancer - New Research Reveals Treatment Action Plan That Provides Better Quality Of Life

In the December 1 issue of JAMA, a study concluded that an active surveillance strategy for prostate cancer detection in male adults 65 years of age resulted in better quality of life measurements.

2009 saw roughly 192,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. Out of this group, 70% will be said to have a low-risk, localized cancer and over 90% of the 192,000 will have begun some form of treatment. “Initial treatment choices include surgical resection [removal] or radiation therapy. The majority of men experience at least 1 adverse effect of treatment,” according to background information in the article.

Active surveillance is an action plan that closely observes the prostate of only chosen patients with low-risk prostate cancer, the point being to forgo treatment unless the cancer begins to grow, or the patient subsequently opts for more invasive methods.

“The quality-of-life advantage associated with active surveillance is robust in this model of treatment alternatives for men with clinically localized, low-risk prostate cancer. This benefit reflects the deferred and substantially lower incidence of adverse effects of treatment experienced by men under active surveillance. Active surveillance is associated with significant improvements in QALE even in analyses in which the probability of dying of prostate cancer or of developing progressive disease during active surveillance is increased. However, the finding that the optimal strategy is sensitive to utility weights [weight assigned to an individual's preference for a particular health state] is evidence that the decision whether to pursue active surveillance must be individualized. Models that incorporate individual patient utilities should be developed to assist patients and their caregivers to estimate the risks and potential benefits of active surveillance before making this decision,” the authors concluded.

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