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HealthWatch: New Prostate Cancer Advice

HealthcareMEDFORD, Ore. —  For the estimated 230,000 American men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, the decision to have surgery can be grueling.

Lately, the evidence has pointed to keeping a careful eye on the cancer instead of having immediate surgery to remove the gland, known as “watchful waiting.”

But now a new study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine will have some men and their doctors thinking twice.

Swedish researchers assigned nearly 700 men with early prostate cancer to undergo either prostate removal or watchful waiting instead.

The researchers kept track of these men for 23 years.

They found there were 99 deaths from prostate cancer in the watchful waiting group compared to 63 deaths in the surgery group.

These findings are sure to stir up debate, but they may also give men and their doctors one more point to consider in their very difficult decision.