New research published in the British Journal of Cancer indicates a clear pattern of initial misdiagnosis of the stage and aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The result is a subset of men opting for "active surveillance" or "watchful waiting" when a more aggressive, invasive from of treatment would be warranted.
Unlike other cancers (e.g., pancreatic), there are a number of early detection tools for prostate cancer available to health care practitioners.
As we have discussed previously (see PSA: Appropriate Use vs. Misuse and Abuse), PSA is far too often misunderstood and misapplied by all involved.
Now, based on post-surgery analysis of removed prostate tissue, it appears that the profiling and staging assessments derived from Biopsy and TNM tend to fault toward underestimation of the progression of the disease and thus the mortality risk to the patient.
Although we are fortunate to have the existing diagnostic toolset available to us, we encourage men to fully understand the limitations and the tradeoffs that are involved with any form of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.
We are not encouraging over-treatment, but instead the avoidance of "false comfort" from answers more to our liking. And make no mistake about it: deferring treatment is a treatment decision.
So, if diagnosed with prostate cancer, engage with a prostate cancer specialist in order to explore your treatment options and their tradeoffs, and then choose a course of action that makes the most sense to you (see Choosing the Right Prostate Cancer Treatment).
And never forget, we are here to help if and as needed.
(For more information on the referenced study, please see here.)