A recent study, entitled PIVOT, has reported that surgery is probably not the best treatment option for men with prostate cancer. The study showed that men who had the surgery were far more likely to experience negative side effects such as erectile dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence than they were to live longer solely from having the surgery. Out of 100 men, anywhere from 20-40% of them experienced some sort of negative side effect, while only 1 out of 100, on average, was saved by surgery. The study suggests that because this specific cancer grows so slowly, it is more beneficial for men to “wait it out”, because chances are much greater that they will pass way from another cause before the cancer becomes terminal. The study also suggests that overall quality of life would be better without the surgery. There are some who oppose the study, citing that the sample size of men in the study was too small, and that the men studied did not follow their assigned treatment plans. Opposers also state that the men selected for the study only had a 10-year life expectancy, meaning that they would not be able to fully experience the benefits from having the surgery.
- 1A large, long-term study of men having surgery to treat prostate cancer shows little benefit from surgery while prompting lots of negative side effects.
- 2For early-stage cancers removed surgically, the study found only 4% fewer men survived the cancer when compared to those treated for symptoms as they developed.
- 3Side effects were significant and common for those having surgery — 30-40% experienced erectile dysfunction within 5 years and 30% experienced urinary incontinence within 10 years.