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Treatment for early prostate cancer associated with type of specialist seen

Chicago, June 3, 2007 -- A new study analyzing men with localized prostate cancer shows that the specialty of the physician they see can influence the type of therapy they ultimately receive. The study, co-led by a urologist and a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, found that patients aged 65 to 69 years old who consult a urologist are more likely to undergo surgery to remove the prostate, while those who consult a radiation oncologist and a urologist, regardless of age, usually receive radiation therapy.

"These practice patterns are no surprise but are notable because specialists who treat prostate cancer tend to favor the treatment they themselves deliver, despite the fact that no one has shown one treatment for early stage prostate cancer to be better than another," said Thomas L. Jang, MD, MPH, a physician in the Department of Urology, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and co-lead author of the study. "It is very important for patients to receive an unbiased, balanced perspective on the full range of treatments."

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, reviewed the records of 85,088 men aged 65 and older who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1994 and 2002 using information from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) Medicare-linked database to determine the type of specialist they saw and the therapy they received. The treatments included radical prostatectomy (surgery to remove the prostate), radiation therapy, primary androgen deprivation (hormone) therapy, and expectant management (watchful waiting).

Among the men in the study, 50 percent were seen exclusively by a urologist; 44 percent by both a radiation oncologist and urologist; 3 percent by both a medical oncologist and urologist; and 3 percent by all three specialists. A high correlation was observed between the specialist patients saw and the treatment they received. Thi
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Contact: Joanne Nicholas
nicholaj@mskcc.org
917-270-3846
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
3-Jun-2007


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