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Delayed Surgery for Prostate Cancer Poses No Risk for Some Patients

Delaying surgery for prostate cancer - even for years - does not appear to increase the risk that the disease will progress into an incurable form. That's the finding of a Johns Hopkins University study that compared men with small, low-grade prostate tumors who had surgery shortly after diagnosis and those with the same medical condition who decided to watch and wait.

Professor of urology and study author Ballantine Carter says the delayed surgery for these patients posed no increased risk. "What this study shows is that men who are in a surveillance program and being monitored for their prostate cancer -- and subsequently undergo an operation on average two or three years later -- have the same risk of having non-curable disease as men who could have entered a surveillance program but chose to undergo surgery immediately."

Carter says the findings of the 10-year study suggest that the window of opportunity for a cure does not quickly close for those actively monitored for progression of the disease. The study appears in the Journal of National Cancer Institute.