Prostate Cancer: Why Waiting Is Often Better

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A prostate cancer diagnosis is one thing every man fears and if you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your head is probably still swimming.

Even more so if one of the first things happening after you get your diagnosis is your oncologist shoving a calendar under your nose to discuss your first radiation treatment or surgery.

Stay cool. Wait and watch

Any cancer diagnosis comes as a shock. It’s frightening. It’s life-changing and it affects everybody in your life. And that’s why you need to keep a cool head. Because there’s one thing more important than treating cancer quickly or aggressively and that’s treating it right.

In a previous e-alert, we told you about Dr. Herbert Lepor, chair of the department of urology at New York University Langone Medical Centre, who recently said that “the majority of prostate cancers ?¦ are not significant,” and “they would be best not diagnosed”.

Needless to say, many mainstream doctors were taken aback by his statement.
After all, everything we hear about cancer prevention says that early detection and intervention saves lives, right?

However, a recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirms what Dr. Lepor said: too many men are being treated for prostate cancer.

The researchers tracked 38,000 elderly patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2007. The results of the study showed that the majority of those men were being hustled into immediately starting toxic radiation treatments for no valid reason.

In fact, according to the researchers, once they’ve seen an oncologist these men were SIX TIMES more likely to choose radiation and twice as likely to choose surgery, instead of opting for a “watchful wait” approach where tumours are monitored over time to see whether they grow.

Lead researcher, Dr. Karim Chamie, says that men are being given radiation therapy regardless of the severity of their cancer. In fact, factors like whether your prostate cancer is even serious or not seem to “contribute very little to the decision-making process.”

As usual, all you have to do to understand why prostate cancer is over-treated is to follow the money. According to Dr. Chamie it all comes down to the specialist you’re referred to – and whatever treatment brings in the most money. He also noted that radiation brings in more money for doctors than surgery. And that’s something he believes also plays a role in the decision.

Radiation pays out twice as much as surgery, which explains why the mainstream pushes that route. Meanwhile, plenty of men who opt for mainstream treatments can end up impotent, with diabetes or bone loss. With radiation, you could even develop a secondary bladder or rectal cancer.

The fact is, most prostate cancers are slow growing. If you’re already in your 60s, and especially if you’re older than 70, often the best thing to do is simply monitor the cancer to see if it grows.

Dr. Chamie’s approach to slow-growing prostate cancer is “active surveillance.” Recent research from Harvard suggests that may also be the best method not only for men with “low risk” cancers, but even more advanced ones.

So before you let your doctor fast-track you into receiving surgery or radiation to treat prostate cancer – or even having a biopsy done after a PSA test – the best course of action may be to stop, take a deep breath, and get another opinion.


Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Sources:

Are Too Many Prostate Cancer Patients Receiving Treatment? nlm.nih.gov

“Too many prostate cancer patients being treated?” Randy Dotinga, February 19, 2015, Web MD, webmd.com

“Radiation used in too many men with indolent prostate cancer” Pam Harrison, February 23, 2015, Medscape, medscape.com

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