Ask and you’ll receive their biased opinion
|from the LA Times Booster Shots section by Thomas Maugh II March 8, 2010
The situation may arise, at least in part, because there is such a smorgasbord of potential treatments available, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and watchful waiting. If a man chooses surgery, it can be performed by conventional surgery, laparoscopically or with the assistance of a robot. If radiation, it can be delivered conventionally, with proton beams, or by implantation of radioactive seeds, an approach called brachytherapy. What makes the decision even harder, Dr. Michael J. Barry of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making in Boston wrote in an editorial accompanying the report, is that there is an “embarrassing” absence of clinical trials comparing the therapies. The only trial for men over 65, in fact, found that surgical removal of the tumor was no more likely to improve survival than watchful waiting. The National Cancer Institute is now sponsoring a trial to compare treatment to monitoring, but results are not expected until later this year. Until those results are available, however, men rely on their physicians to help them make a decision, and those decisions, framed by anecdotal experience, are likely to be biased.
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