Should all prostate cancers be treated?

William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.

William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.

“Prostate cancer mortality has been declining since prostate cancer screening started in 1995,” says William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. “There’s no question that it works. The problem is diagnosing these cancers in men who aren’t threatened by the disease and then pursuing treatment."

"When we find a cancer that has a low risk of progressing to threaten life, a low Gleason score, the best move may be not to treat this upfront but instead to pursue an active surveillance regimen involving repeated PSA testing, rectal exams, or imaging studies. Through this process, many men (up to 40%) may never go on to get their prostate cancer treated. Currently, we think that’s the best way to benefit from screening but also not to be overdiagnosed or overtreated.”

Listen to the Cancer News Review podcast with Dr. Nelson.

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