As one of the leading cancer killers of men in the United States, prostate cancer has long been treated aggressively. While beneficial for those who see their survivability rates rise, aggressive treatments are not always needed and may, indeed, lead to unnecessary side effect risks in some cases.
After years of a push-and-pull on the best treatment protocols, more doctors and their patients are choosing treatment options that are more carefully targeted toward particular cases, a new study indicates.
The study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco took a look at treatment trends from 2010 to 2013. Researchers found during that period about 40 percent of men with low-risk forms of the disease chose active surveillance versus more aggressive treatments. This was up dramatically from the 10 percent of men who chose surveillance between 1990 and 2009.
Researchers also found that in higher-risk cases, more men were undergoing prostate removal with or without radiation. These localized treatments have been found to be more effective than hormone therapy alone in higher risk cases.
Targeted prostate cancer therapy that takes into account the risk level of the tumor found and its likelihood of progressing is considered by many doctors now to be the preferred way to approach this disease. Active surveillance involves carefully monitoring low-risk cases over time without necessarily moving forward with advanced treatments, such as prostate removal or radiation therapy unless a tumor’s progression deems such measures vital for survival.
Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are urged to work carefully with their healthcare providers to select a course of treatment. For those in the low-risk category, waiting and seeing might be the best approach. For men who face higher risk tumors, a variety of treatment options exist include the use of less invasive prostate seed implants that deliver targeted radiation directly to the tumor.