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Classifying Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer May Help Improve Outcomes

While many of the 180,000 American men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the upcoming year will find their disease is slow-growing and poses little risk, this isn’t always the case. For men with intermediate risk forms of prostate cancer, radical prostatectomies may be necessary to improve survival chances. This doesn’t mean, however, that all men who undergo this surgery will enjoy progression free survival in the future.

Researchers are finding that intermediate-risk prostate cancer does vary in prognosis based on a few factors. Cancers that are considered “favorable intermediate risk” are likely to have a significantly higher five-year recurrence free survival rate following prostate removal. Those with unfavorable forms of the disease are much more likely to see a recurrence.

A recent study looked at the differences between “favorable” and “unfavorable” cases. Nearly 1,600 men were included in the study. The two groups were identified by differences in their biopsies and Gleason scores, among other factors. When all was said and done, the overall prognosis for men in the “favorable” group was higher. Whether additional interventions might improve the rate of progression-free survival was not looked at. While further study is likely required to better understand the differences and how they impact prognosis, the research sheds light on the subtle differences in intermediate prostate cancer and the need to delve further into treatment options for those with “unfavorable” forms of the disease.

Prostate cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer among men in the United States. This condition, if caught early, can often be successfully addressed through a variety of treatment options. All men are technically at risk for this disease as they age. To find out more about personal prostate cancer risks, men should speak directly to their healthcare providers. Risk factors, such as family history, lifestyle and ethnicity, may increase the likelihood that this condition will develop.