Prostate cancer treatment can wait for most men, study says

Prostate cancer generally occurs in males or persons assigned male at birth. (Image via Unsplash/ National Cancer Institute)
Prostate cancer generally occurs in males or persons assigned male at birth. (Image via Unsplash/ National Cancer Institute)

Long-term research has shown that regularly monitoring localized prostate cancer is a secure substitute for quick surgery or radiation treatment.

The three methods—surgery to remove malignancies, radiation therapy, and monitoring—were directly compared in the study. Since most prostate cancers have a slow growth rate, it takes a long time to examine the disease's results.

The findings were presented at a European Association of Urology conference in Milan, Italy, and published on Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study's funding came from Britain's National Institute for Health and Care Research.


What is prostate cancer?

The male reproductive system includes the prostate and seminal vesicles. The prostate is comparable to a walnut in size.

When cancer cells are exclusively identified in the prostate or even slightly outside of it (extra-prostatic extension), prostate cancer remains "localized" and does not spread to other body organs. Prostate cancer is referred to as being "advanced" if it spreads to other body parts.

Fortunately, prostate cancer is typically discovered in its earliest stages in the majority of patients. In 2023, prostate cancer is frequently curable with treatment.


What is this new study about?

More than 1,600 British men who consented to receiving surgery, radiation treatment, or active surveillance were studied. The prostate, a walnut-sized gland that is a component of the reproductive system, was the only site of the patient’s cancer. Men in the monitoring group underwent routine blood exams, and some underwent radiation or surgery.

New study finds promising views on prostate cancer treatment. (Image via Pexels/ Anna Tarazevich)
New study finds promising views on prostate cancer treatment. (Image via Pexels/ Anna Tarazevich)

Lead researcher Dr Freddie Hamdy of the University of Oxford advised individuals who have been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer not to panic or rush treatment choices. According to him, patients should “consider carefully the possible benefits and harms caused by the treatment options,” instead.

He stated that a tiny percentage of men with high-risk or more advanced diseases do require urgent therapies.


Causes of prostate cancer

What makes cells in your prostate develop into cancer cells is unknown to experts. Prostate cancer develops when cells divide more quickly than usual, just like other cancers do.

Cancer cells do not eventually die, but normal cells do. Instead, they proliferate and develop into a lump known as a tumor. Parts of the tumor may separate and spread to other areas of your body as the cells continue to divide (metastasize).

Fortunately, prostate cancer typically advances slowly. The majority of tumors are discovered before your prostate is fully affected by the disease.


Common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer

In its early stages, prostate cancer may not show any symptoms at all.

More advanced prostate cancer may exhibit symptoms and signs like:

  • difficulty urinating
  • decreased force of the urine stream
  • blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • shedding pounds without trying
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in bone
  • painful ejaculation
  • erection problems

If you are concerned about any persistent signs or symptoms, schedule a visit with your doctor.


Managing prostate cancer

Your overall health, whether the cancer has spread, and how quickly it is spreading are just a few of the variables that will affect how you are medically treated. You might collaborate with urologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists depending on your therapy options. Most prostate cancers that are discovered in their early stages can be treated and recovered from.

Surgery can be used as a treatment option. (Image via Unsplash/ National Cancer Institute)
Surgery can be used as a treatment option. (Image via Unsplash/ National Cancer Institute)

Surgeries, therapies, and monitoring are the most common treatment options for prostate cancer. However, prostate cancer can recur if not properly cured.

Edited by Siddharth Dhananjay