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Expensive treatments for prostate cancer may be overused

Category: Prostate

Lab tests online that screen for a range of medical conditions can benefit people of all ages, particularly those who are concerned that they may have developed a serious ailment that will impact their long-term wellness.

For men, the risks of developing prostate cancer - a condition which, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute results in 238,590 new cases and 29,720 deaths annually - can be immense. However, by taking a lab test, men may be able to gain a better idea of their overarching wellness.

When it comes to treating prostate cancer, a recent study of new technologies has revealed that men affected by the disease in its advanced stages may be less likely to benefit from the use of these devices.

Intensity-modulated radiotherapy and robotic prostatectomy are used to treat low-risk cases of prostate cancer, and the use of this technology has increased exponentially. In 2004, 32 percent of individuals accessed IMRT and robotic prostatectomy, while in 2009 - the most recent year statistics were taken - this grew to 44 percent.

For men with advanced cases of prostate cancer, the utilization of this technology went from 36 percent in 2004 to 57 percent in 2009, NBC News reported.

"The implementation of these technologies occurred in populations at a time when there was an increase in awareness that some prostate cancers might not warrant treatment," said study co-author Brent Hollenbeck, M.D., an associate professor of urology and director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Division of Health Services Research at the University of Michigan.

Yet according to researchers in the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these technologies have not been as effective in helping men as previously believed.

Rather, treatments using these devices may be costly and overused, without resulting in major changes in the health of men.

According to some experts, because many forms of prostate cancer develop slowly over time, medical ways of alleviating it like IMRT or robotic prostatectomy may actually do little but interfere with a man's quality of life, and could lead to problems like impotence.

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