In a study of older men who had died from causes other than prostate cancer, almost half were found to have prostate tumors.
And up to half of those tumors detected on autopsy would have qualified for treatment had doctors known about them while the men lived, though none had been the cause of death.
That suggests the criteria for treatment "might be worth reexamining," according to the study authors, and adds to a growing body of evidence that a wait-and-see approach might be better than treatment for many prostate cancers.
"The study suggests that the progression of early prostate cancer, including some more aggressive forms of the disease, is far from inevitable within a man's lifetime as many such tumors are found in men who died from other causes when their prostate is analyzed on autopsy," said lead author Dr. Alexandre Zlotta, director of Uro-oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
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