Early Stage Prostate Cancer Will Progress in Few Men

But recorded incidence of the disease has increased

FRIDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although the recorded incidence of prostate cancer has increased in the past two decades, mortality rates suggest that only a small proportion of men with early stage disease will have progression and ultimately die, according to a review in the May 17 issue of The Lancet.

Jan-Erik Damber, M.D., and Gunnar Aus, M.D., from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, reviewed the published scientific literature on the causes, epidemiology, screening, diagnosis, prognostic factors, and treatment for localized and advanced prostate cancer.

The authors note that prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men in developed countries, and that age, ethnic origin and a family history of the disease are the strongest known risk factors. Although the recorded incidence of prostate cancer has substantially increased, changes in mortality rates are not of the same magnitude and have been stable or even decreased in some countries. "Only a small proportion of diagnosed low-risk prostate cancers will progress to life-threatening disease during the lifetime of the patient," the authors suggest.

"Nowadays, we can recognize patients with aggressive prostate cancer who will need some form of immediate therapy," Damber and Aus conclude. "The main difficulty that clinicians face is the large number of men diagnosed with early stage disease, of whom a small proportion will have disease progression and ultimately die from prostate cancer if not treated."

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