Too Few Patients with Prostate Cancer Receiving Active Surveillance

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A majority of U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer who are eligible for active surveillance still undergo treatment.
A majority of U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer who are eligible for active surveillance still undergo treatment.

A majority of U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer who are eligible for active surveillance still undergo treatment, according to a new report published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The authors of the report examined a national database that included 70 percent of cancer cases in the country. 

Of 189,768 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, between 10.7 and 39.8 percent would be considered low-risk enough to be eligible for a watch-and-wait approach. Of those men, just 6.5 to 12.1 percent received active surveillance, the study revealed.

Older men -- those over 60 -- were more likely to have active surveillance. Men without insurance were also more likely to be receiving the watch-and-wait approach.

The researchers found that active surveillance was most common on the West Coast and in the Northeast. The states with the lowest levels -- under 5 percent -- were Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

The study data was collected in 2010 and 2011, and much has changed since that time in regard to the popularity of active surveillance, the researchers noted. Active surveillance is "gaining acceptance among urologists and patients," study coauthor Hui Zhu, M.D., Sc.D., chief of urology at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, told HealthDay.

RELATED: Prostate Cancer Androgen Deprivation and Chemo: Does Timing Matter?

"Age-appropriate men should discuss the risks and benefits of screening with their physicians, and men with newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer should ask their physicians whether active surveillance is a good option for them."

Reference

  1. Maurice, Matthew J., MD, et al. "Contemporary Nationwide Patterns of Active Surveillance Use for Prostate Cancer." JAMA Internal Medicine. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2835. [epub ahead of print]. June 29, 2015.

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