There's a Promising New Option for Prostate Cancer Treatment
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There's a Promising New Option for Prostate Cancer Treatment

A new study indicates patients can hold off on aggressive, potentially counterproductive treatment

You wouldn't expect it, but there's good news if you get a prostate cancer diagnosis. A long-running study out of the U.K. suggests as long as patients work with their doctors and actively monitor prostate tumors, they may be able to avoid aggressive treatment for quite a while.

CNN reports that the study determined patients weren't any more likely to die from prostate cancer if they delayed treatment than those who had surgery or underwent hormone or radiation therapy. Those types of therapies can have harsh effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

The study's lead author, Dr. Freddie Hamdy from the University of Oxford, said, "The good news is that if you're diagnosed with prostate cancer, don't panic, and take your time to make a good decision." The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Related: Yes, You Need a Colonoscopy—Here’s What to Expect

Prostate cancer is no joke: It's the second-most common cancer among men in the U.S. and the second-leading cause of cancer death. It hits about 11 percent of U.S. men in their lifetime. But it feels like the medical world is making some progress. Last year, it was reported that a blood test that screens for prostate cancer that's been used for decades has actually been more effective than was originally thought—especially among Black men.

The new study results don't apply to some types of prostate cancer, which may be high-risk and that account for about 15 percent of cases. But for many other prostate cancer diagnoses, it seems like active monitoring is the way to go rather than aggressive treatment.

Experts stressed that a lot has changed in prostate treatment since 1999, when the study began. The study's authors said they re-evaluated patients using modern methods in order to make sure the conclusions were still relevant.

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