It’s almost a given in this day and age. You’re diagnosed with cancer, so you automatically prepare for surgery (or radiation, or chemotherapy, or some combination of the three). But what if you do nothing? What if skipping surgery could actually be a better choice?
A 20-year study by the Minneapolis VA Medical Center suggests exactly that.
This study was the longest and most extensive one ever conducted on prostate cancer patients, and its goal was to compare treatment options. On one side were approximately 350 men who underwent surgery. On the other side were approximately 350 men who were simply observed by their medical providers.
The results were surprising. Overall, the study found very little difference between the outcomes of the two groups – at least for older men. While young men may see greater benefits from surgery, the majority of older men with localized prostate cancer seem to do equally well without any type of medical intervention.
All Things Considered, Surgery May Cause More Harm Than Good
Surgery is inherently risky. In addition to creating exorbitant medical bills and leading to unavoidable pain for the patient, it creates the risk of further injury or death from medical malpractice. Such malpractice can range from objects left behind during surgery to anesthesia errors and hospital-acquired infections.
And even when surgeons are as careful and responsible as can be, prostate surgery still carries the risk of complications such as sexual dysfunction and incontinence.
Gather Multiple Opinions Before Making A Decision
The best decision to make regard cancer treatment naturally differs from person to person. What makes the most sense for one man may not be appropriate for another.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, consider consulting more than one doctor before committing to any one course of action. It’s worth it to get a second opinion – or even a third or fourth. After all, surgery can’t be undone. You deserve to feel confident with the choice you make.