Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Treatment recommendations for prostate cancer (of similar grades) seem to vary by age. Is that due to otherwise differing life expectancies or because the cancer cells are expected to grow faster the younger one is? Some other reason? (I am a recently diagnosed 55 yr old with a low-grade cancer).
Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:
There are three things that should affect your decision for management preference. The first is the Gleason score and stage (extent) of the disease. The second is your life expectancy without the disease and your overall medical health. The third is your willingness to accept the risks of whatever management strategy you choose. My feeling is that is if your life expectancy without the prostate cancer is 10 to 12 years or less you would be as well off (or maybe better off) with radiation therapy than surgery. This is because the survival rate is basically the same up to 8 to 10 years after treatment with both modalities.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Prostate cancer treatment: where are we now?