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When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is often assumed that he has a more aggressive form of the disease if he has a family history of prostate problems. However, new research suggests that doctors should only look to data from PSA tests and other exams to determine the aggressiveness of cancer and make treatment recommendations.
For the study, a team of researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center examined the medical records of more than 1,700 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The results showed that regardless of family history, PSA tests, biopsy and digital rectal exam results were the best predictor of whether an individual had an aggressive form of the disease.
"This is important because patients, especially those with a family history, might assume that radiotherapy might not work as well and opt for surgery when it may not be necessary," said lead researcher Mark Buyyounouski.
The more aggressively prostate cancer is treated, the greater the likelihood that the patient will experience side effects. Many individuals end up experiencing impaired sexual function following serious treatments like hormone therapy or surgery. However, many men do not need to undergo these treatments, the study suggests.
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