By staff writers

May 17, 2018 -- A record number of U.S. veterans are taking a wait-and-see approach and bypassing immediate surgery or radiation therapy to treat their prostate cancer, according to research published online May 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A group from New York University (NYU) and the Manhattan Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center reviewed medical records from the VA's central data warehouse for 125,083 former servicemen, mostly over the age of 55, who were diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer between 2005 and 2015.

In 2005, 27% of men younger than 65 chose not to receive immediate therapy, and only 4% chose active surveillance. By 2015, 72% opted for "watchful waiting" and 39% chose active surveillance. The numbers were similar for veterans who were older than 65.

"Our study shows that the Veterans Affairs healthcare system has done a good job over the last decade in adopting 'conservative management' of men diagnosed with early-stage disease, with many men choosing active surveillance as an alternative to immediate therapy," said senior investigator and urologist Dr. Stacy Loeb in a release from NYU Langone Health. "The main conclusion to be drawn from the data is that if so many veterans can quickly adopt this less-risky disease management strategy, then so too might other American men if they understood the potential benefits of this option."

Copyright © 2018

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