Surgery reduces death risk in prostate cancer

Men who have surgery for prostate cancer are less likely to die of the disease within a ten year period than those who pursue other treatment avenues, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Geneva University, headed by Arnaud Merglen, examined 844 patients diagnosed with localised prostate cancer in Geneva between 1989 and 1998 and assessed their reaction to a range of different treatments.

Surgery was carried out on 158 men, 205 had radiotherapy, 378 opted for watchful waiting, 72 chose hormone therapy and 31 had another type of therapy altogether.

The findings, published in the October 8th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, reveal that after ten years, patients treated with radiotherapy or watchful waiting were at an increased risk of death than those who underwent surgery.

This was particularly true for younger men or those with poorly differentiated tumours, the authors confirmed.

They concluded that "until clinical trials provide conclusive evidence, physicians and patients should be informed of these results and their limitations".

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