Photo: The Telegraph
Early results of the PIVOT study (Prostate Intervention Versus Observation Trust, 731 participants over 12 years) show that those who had their prostate gland removed had no better chance of survival than those who had no treatment:
Prostate Cancer Surgery 'Has No Significant Survival Benefit', Study Suggests, The Telegraph, 28 April, 2012
Dr. Kate Holmes, head of Research Management at the UK's Prostate Cancer Charity, said:
"Early data from the PIVOT trial certainly suggests that surgery to remove the prostate does not provide any significant survival benefit for men with low to medium risk prostate cancer.""Watchful waiting" is not the kind of finding that excites for-profit health providers. Indeed, even though, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force, the PSA test:
"... results in small or no reduction in prostate cancer–specific mortality and is associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments, some of which may be unnecessary."And even though the test is unreliable - positive results are mostly false ("7 out of 10 men in this category will still not have prostate cancer") and 25% of men with prostate cancer have no elevation in PSA - the test is still aggressively promoted.
I don't know, this is a tough one. Maybe, as the CDC says, it's best left to each man and his provider.
"Currently, there is not enough evidence to decide if the potential benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the potential risks. Given the uncertainty about the benefit of screening, CDC supports informed decision making."