Prostate cancer is a serious medical condition that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible by men in order to continue living a quality lifestyle. While a lot of men opt for surgery, radiation or chemotherapy as treatment methods, a new study has come forward with some interesting results.
The new study, published in the Journal of Urology, has shown that men experiencing low-risk prostate cancer have reported a better quality of life after they selected an active surveillance of their condition as a treatment method.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, active surveillance for such a cancer means that an individual has decided to not undergo surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. These individuals, instead, follow a regular schedule of medical exams and tests in order to make sure that the cancer isn’t rapidly growing inside of them.
A total of 509 American men were included in the current study. From this group a total of 89 men had low-risk prostate cancer while the remaining 420 men didn’t have the disease. After a follow-up of three years no significant differences between the two groups with regards to health related quality of life was seen in the results.
The lead investigator of the study, Dr. Christopher Porter, from Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, shared his comments in the journal’s press release. “To our knowledge, this is the first report of health-related quality-of-life outcomes of men on active surveillance for prostate cancer compared to men without prostate cancer in a prospective, multi-institutional study.”
He further went on to add that for at least three years, men who went for active surveillance did not experience clinically significant problems or psychological burdens of a substantial level because of the untreated disease. The potential clinical impacts of these results are quite significant. It will enable patients to be counseled by clinicians effectively about the outcomes of health related quality of life that are associated with active surveillance of prostate cancer.
The authors of the study said that a lot of men with prostate cancer have low-risk disease. These men have to make the hard decision between receiving treatment and having their cancer monitored. However, prostate cancer treatments come with a high risk of side effects. These side effects include sexual, bowel and urinary dysfunction.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation also fears GPs not being aware of the latest ‘Prostate Cancer Management and Referral Guidance Guidelines’ meant for managing and referring patients with prostate cancer. Though the guidelines were released to PHOs and DHBs back in September, Mark von Dadelszen, the President of the foundation believes that only a few GPs became aware of them after a reminder was issued by the Ministry of Health last month. The guidelines have been created to help prostate cancer patients and GPs should know about them.
Even the thought of undergoing surgery for treating prostate cancer can lead to a physiological burden which can cause men to go into depression. The current study can allow patients to fully understand the benefits of active surveillance of low-risk prostate cancer and experience a better health related quality of life.