Although it is not the final word, a large new study suggests that older men live longer if their prostate cancer is treated rather than just observed to see if it spreads.
Median survival was more than 13 years for men who had surgery or radiation, but only ten years for those who chose "watchful waiting."
The study -- done at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia -- involved an analysis of Medicare and federal cancer registry records on nearly 50,000 men.
Looked at another way, men who were treated were half as likely to die. 59% of them were alive at the end of the study compared with only 27% of the others.
The results were reported at a conference in San Francisco.
Cancer of the prostate, a gland that makes seminal fluid, is the most common major malignancy in American men. There are 232,000 new cases and 30,000 deaths each year.