A new tool has been developed which allows men with prostate cancer to choose their own treatment that could increase survival rates. Only around one-third of prostate cancer patients have a low risk of dying. For some of these patients, surgery or radiotherapy could improve survival rates, but only by a little bit.
The new method uses a computer questionnaire where a patient answers questions under a doctor’s supervision. The patient would then be provided with the expected odds of death within the next 10 to 15 years.
The chart would also provide their survival rate with treatment. The questionnaire is called the PREDICT Prostate questionnaire.
Along with surgery or radiotherapy, patients can also choose active surveillance, where cancer is closely monitored.
Author of the study Dr. Vincent Gnanapragasam explained, “We believe this tool could significantly reduce the number of unnecessary – and potentially harmful – treatments that patients receive and save the NHS millions every year.”
“This isn’t about rationing treatments – it’s about empowering patients and their clinicians to make decisions based on better evidence. In some cases, treatment will be the right option, but in many others, patients will want to weigh up the treatment benefits versus the risks of side effects.”
The new test is around 84 percent accurate in predicting the outcome for patients.
Lead author Dr. David Thurtle concluded, “As far as we are aware, this is the first personalized tool to give an overall survival estimate for men following a prostate cancer diagnosis. We hope it will provide a more accurate and objective estimate to help men reach an informed decision in discussion with their consultant.”