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Treatment may not be the best option for men with positive PSA tests

Category: Prostate

Delaying surgery or radiation treatment for men who have received positive PSA tests for prostate cancer does not increase their risk of death, according to a new study out of Johns Hopkins University. The researchers said that using "active surveillance" of prostate growths could help men avoid the side effects of cancer treatment without increasing their risk of cancer complications.

When most men receive positive PSA tests, their first reaction is to have the tumor removed. However, treatment for the disease often results in serious complications that can impact quality of life. Given the fact that prostate cancer is so slow growing, surgery is often unnecessary.

The researchers said that their study of 769 men diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer confirms that treating the tumor is not always the best approach. After following the men for up to 15 years after their initial diagnosis, not a single participant had died from prostate cancer.

"This study offers the most conclusive evidence to date that active surveillance may be the preferred option for the vast majority of older men diagnosed with a very low-grade or small-volume form of prostate cancer," said H. Ballentine Carter, who led the study.

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