More than half of the men with prostate cancer are over 65 years of age when diagnosed. In the study, surgery did not prevent death any more than active monitoring. Although surgery delayed the development of metastases (or secondary cancers) in a small number of men, the number of deaths definitively attributable to prostate cancer in each of the groups was low, only three, four and seven deaths respectively.
Both found men with early-stage abnormalities of the prostate who do not undergo surgery or radiation treatment, but whose condition is monitored for any progression of the cancer, live just as long as men who opted for complete removal of the prostate and now live with its immediate consequences, including incontinence, intimacy issues, bowel problems and intervention regret. The survival from prostate cancer is so high it’s not a question of deciding which treatment is best, but whether any early radical treatment is required at all. Instead, patients who have had surgery are four times more likely to require absorbent pads for incontinence and three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction.