Prostate Cancer: Survival vs. Treatment side effects

Prostate Cancer: Survival vs. Treatment side effects

Men who have previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age often say that they are switching to an improvement in their chances of survival with fewer treatment-related side effects and a better quality of life. This is the result of research presented by scientists at Imperial College London and the National Cancer Research Institute's Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Prostate cancer often grows slowly and some men with illness get the option "watchful waiting", also known as active surveillance. The treatment usually involves surgery or radiotherapy, both associated with significant rates of urinary incontinence and loss of sexual function. Men can spend weeks or months recovering from a prostate cancer treatment, and some may require additional treatment.

This study involved 634 men diagnosed with prostate cancer who had not spread, 74 percent with low-risk or medium-risk cancer, and 26 percent with high-risk cancer who were not discussing treatment options with their physicians. The UK researchers presented the study participants with two hypothetical treatment options that differed in their likely impact on survival, side effects, recovery time, and the likelihood of further treatment.

Based on men's decisions, researchers found that survival is the most important factor, followed by the avoidance of incontinence, the need for additional treatment, and the maintenance of sexual function. They also found that patients were willing to compromise between survival and side effects. For example, the study participants were willing to give up 0.68 percent more chance of survival to have a 1 percent better chance of maintaining urinary function.

Source: NCRI Cancer Conference

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