Why Surgery May Not Be the Answer to Early Stage Prostate Cancer
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The first thing many oncologists will want to do when they discover early stage prostate cancer is surgically remove the cancer. The idea behind this is that removing the cancer early before it can progress to other areas of the body is beneficial. With the side effects of such surgery and the minimal benefits, surgery may not be right for everyone.
Studies have found that men over age 65 with early stage prostate cancer do not necessarily benefit with a longer lifespan from surgery. The study found that seven percent of those who received the surgery died from prostate cancer, while only eleven percent of those without surgery died of the cancer. This is not a significant increase in mortality rate. In both cases, roughly 65 percent of the patients died from other causes unrelated to the cancer.
Incontinence, or needing to wear a daily pad due to uncontrollable urination, is a side effect of both the surgery and the cancer itself. A recent study found that while over 40 percent of those who have surgery need to wear a pad daily, only 10 percent of those without surgery suffered from incontinence.
Erectile dysfunction is another side effect of both the surgery and prostate cancer. Eighty percent of the patients in the study who had the surgery in the early stages of prostate cancer suffered from erectile dysfunction. Yet only 40 percent of the patients who did not have the surgery suffered from this problem.
Quality of Life
Although the surgery may increase your lifespan by a few years, your quality of life will be much lower if you go through with surgery in early stage prostate cancer. Close observation and frequent tests can be employed to ensure that the cancer is not spreading or worsening. If it worsens or begins to spread, surgery and other treatment options can be explored.