A rigorous evaluation of survival rates has shown that cancer patients with localised prostate cancer - the most common form of prostate cancer - have a better
chance of survival if treated by surgery than by radiotherapy. These findings hold true even after accounting for type of radiation and the aggressiveness of cancer. This is the most robust analysis (meta - analysis) to date of published literature comparing surgery and radiotherapy for localised prostate cancer. The study is published in the peer - reviewed journal, European Urology.
According to senior author, Dr Robert Nam (Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Research Institute, University of Toronto, Canada): “In the past, studies that have compared the success rates of surgery or radiation have been confusing because of their methods. We have evaluated all the good quality data comparing surgery and radiotherapy, and the results are pretty conclusive; in general, surgery results in better mortality rates than radiotherapy.
Nevertheless, there are times when radiotherapy may be more appropriate than surgery, so it is important that a patient discusses treatment options with his
Localised prostate cancer – where the cancer is confined to the prostate - accounts for around 80 % of prostate cancers. Around 400,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in Europe, meaning that around 320,000 will suffer from localised prostate cancer. The most common way of treating localised prostate cancers are either with radiotherapy, or with surgery. The choice of radiotherapy or surgery varies according to country. For example, in England and Wales, radiotherapy is used more often than surgery.
The researchers conducted a meta - analysis (a ‘study of studies’) which compared 19 studies including upto 118,830 patients who had undergone treatment
with either surgery or radiation.