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Study shows prostate cancer surgery unnecessary for most men

For Pennsylvania men with early-stage prostate cancer, surgery often offers little benefit if any at all, according to results of a long-term study. In fact, these procedures have often caused major complications and worsened medical conditions with side effects like infection, erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence.

Most newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer fall into this early-stage category. For these men, surgical procedures failed to extend their lives, but the damaging side effects may be the most troubling aspect of the operations. Early-stage prostate cancer often expands slowly and is asymptomatic, because these tumors are often non-aggressive.

The study began in 1994 and is one of the longest ever conducted among cancer patients. More and more men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in its early stages due to the development of a blood test for prostate-specific antigen, which can quickly reveal the presence of the disease. Surgery may be a good choice for other men, however, especially younger men with a lengthy life expectancy and prostate cancer that poses an intermediate or high risk. These men have higher scores on the PSA test, indicating that their tumors are aggressive.

Men who do have high-risk or intermediate-stage prostate cancer that is not diagnosed or treated are at a significant risk of the cancer growing and spreading. Prostate cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths among American men. With such a widely available detection mechanism as the PSA test, a failure to diagnose it could in some cases constitute medical malpractice. For men who have experienced a significant worsening of their medical condition, a lawyer could provide important advice.

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