Men with Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Receiving Unnecessary, Expensive Treatment

Men without low-risk prostate cancer have been found to be undergoing potentially unnecessary and expensive treatment. The instilled fee-for-service healthcare model is suggested a cause for blame in the rise of unnecessary tests. NBC News reports:

Despite new guidelines recommending “watchful waiting” for men diagnosed with prostate cancers that carry a low risk of death, more are undergoing potentially unnecessary, but expensive, treatment with high-tech machines according to a large study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

What to do about prostate cancer -- including whom to screen for it and when to treat, or not to treat, has long provoked controversy. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises against routine screening for most men, and recommends active surveillance, not treatment, for men diagnosed with low-risk disease.

The study -- which concludes that “use of advance treatment technologies has increased” among low-risk patients -- found that between 2004 and 2009, use of robotic surgery and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) both saw significant increases in men most experts regard as inappropriate candidates for such treatments.

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