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Older men treated for early prostate cancer live longer than those who are not

(PHILADELPHIA) Recent findings from an observational study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggest that men between 65 and 80 years of age who received treatment for early stage, localized prostate cancer lived significantly longer than men who did not receive treatment. The study will be published in the December 13th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Thanks to better cancer prevention education and the resulting wide-spread increase in using prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings, more men are being diagnosed with early-stage and low-or intermediate-grade prostate cancer. Studies have shown that the slow-developing nature of prostate cancer during its earliest stages makes treatment options, such as a radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate) and radiation therapy, controversial with unpredictable outcomes. Often, recently diagnosed men of this group were advised to just "watch and wait" to see how their situation progressed.

"For this study we looked back over the existing data of a large population of prostate cancer patients, aged 65 to 80, with small tumors that were at a low or intermediate risk of spreading," said senior author Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE, who worked on the study with colleagues from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leonard Davis Institute of Health and Economics, and Division of Internal Medicine, and Fox Chase Cancer Center. "After accounting for all their differences, we discovered that the men who within six months of diagnosis underwent surgery or radiation therapy were 31 percent less likely to die than those who did not undergo treatment during that time."

Researchers acquired the necessary data for this study from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database, a population-based cancer registry which encompasses approximately 14 percent of the US
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Contact: Olivia Fermano
Olivia.Fermano@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
12-Dec-2006


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