Tool calculates probability of dying from prostate cancer within ten years
Examination of the prostate is not a pleasant thing. Nevertheless, it is necessary to protect people from prostate cancer. Researchers have now developed a tool that can predict the likelihood of people dying from prostate cancer with 90 percent accuracy.
- The tool can determine the probability of dying from prostate cancer with an accuracy of 90 percent.
- Unnecessary treatments with severe side effects can be avoided if the chances of dying from prostate cancer are slim.
- Treatments for prostate cancer are not individual enough and are based on a universal approach.
- The prediction model will be made available to patients and doctors on the Internet this year.
- Radical treatments can cause impotence and incontinence.
The experts at the internationally renowned Cambridge University have developed a tool that can calculate with an accuracy of 90 percent whether people will die of an existing prostate cancer. The results of the study will be presented at the European Association of Urology conference in Copenhagen.
Tool calculates the best treatment methods
The new model also calculates how much each patient benefits from surgery, radiation therapy, or other radical treatment, and whether simple medical monitoring would be enough. For around a third of prostate patients, the researchers say the likelihood of dying from their disease is so low that the benefits of treatment are minimal.
Accuracy is 90 percent
In the current investigation, 10,000 British patients were medically monitored for a decade. Then the researchers tested the tool on another 2,500 men in Singapore. After their tests, the scientists found that the accuracy of the tool was 90 percent.
The model used so far only has an accuracy of 60 percent
So far, men with prostate cancer have been divided into three groups by the NHS, depending on how severe their disease was. However, the model previously used had an accuracy of only 60 percent. When men develop prostate cancer, treatment often depends on what they have said to a doctor. The new model, on the other hand, is based on a number of measurable factors, which make it easier to make the right decision for treatment, study author Vincent Gnanapragasam from Cambridge University cited by the “Independent Online”.
Treatment of prostate cancer is based on a universal approach
The treatment of prostate cancer is far behind the treatment of breast cancer. Part of the problem is that breast cancer treatments are increasingly tailored to patients. Treatments for prostate cancer, however, are still based on a universal approach.
Prediction model will be posted on the Internet later this year
The prediction model, which will be put online for patients and their doctors later this year, uses a man's age, medical history, blood tests and biopsy results to calculate his or her personal chance of survival over the next ten years. Men with aggressive cancer will significantly improve their chances of survival if properly treated. However, people with localized, slowly growing cancers experience little difference from treatment because they often die from other causes.
Radical treatment does not make sense for some people
For example, a 72-year-old man with low-grade prostate cancer could have a six percent chance of dying from prostate cancer within a decade. In addition, however, there is a 24 percent chance of dying from something completely different. This results in an overall mortality risk of 30 percent. Radical treatment, such as radiation therapy or prostate removal, would reduce his prostate mortality to just three percent. His overall mortality risk would drop to 27 percent, and would be minimally reduced.
The tiring and exhausting treatment would hardly be of any benefit to those affected, but could cause side effects such as impotence and incontinence. However, a 71-year-old man with more aggressive cancer would lower his prostate cancer mortality risk from 26 percent to 13 percent through treatment, the experts said. This also reduces the total mortality of those affected from 46 percent to 33 percent.
Tool leads to fewer cases of over-treatment
The rate of overtreatment can be reduced by the tool. At least 30 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not seem to benefit from treatment based on the models, the experts speculate. If men see that their absolute risk of death is very low, the scientists believe that they will be more likely to just have their cancer monitored rather than undergo treatment. Too many men are undergoing radical treatments for prostate cancer and in some cases sufferers experience severe side effects that change their entire lives for a form of cancer that would never have harmed them, the researchers conclude. (as)