Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA.
What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Most men who are diagnosed with favourable-risk prostate cancer undergo some form of active intervention, despite evidence that treatment will not improve health outcomes for many. The decision to undergo treatment after diagnosis is, in part, related to the inability to precisely determine the long-term risk of harm without treatment. Nevertheless, physicians should consider patient age, overall health, and preferences for living with cancer and the potential side effects of curative treatments, before recommending a management option. This is especially important for older men, given the high level of evidence that those with low-risk disease are unlikely to accrue any benefit from curative intervention.
What is known on the subject: Over treatment of favourable-risk prostate cancer is common, especially among older men.
What does the study add: A review of the natural history of favourable-risk prostate cancer in the context of choices for management of the disease. The management of favourable-risk prostate cancer is controversial, and in the absence of controlled trials to inform best practice, choices are driven by personal beliefs with resultant wide variation in practice patterns. Men with favourable-risk prostate cancer diagnosed today often undergo treatments that will not improve overall health outcomes. A shared-decision approach for selecting optimal management of favourable-risk disease should account for patient age, overall health, and preferences for living with cancer and the potential side effects of curative treatments.
Carter HB. Are you the author?
Reference: BJU Int. 2011 Sep 6. Epub ahead of print.