Observation of Prostate Cancer Both Effective and Cost-Efficient

In treating low-risk prostate cancer, observation was more effective and less costly than immediate treatment. Optimum management of low-risk prostate cancer remains disputable. MedPage Today reports:

Observation topped initial treatment for low-risk prostate cancer in terms of cost and effectiveness, according to a decision-analysis study.

Both active surveillance and watchful waiting proved more effective and less expensive than immediate treatment. In a comparison of the two observation strategies, watchful waiting added 2 months of quality-adjusted life expectancy and saved $11,000 to $15,000 versus active surveillance, depending on the patient's age.

Initial treatment came out ahead of observation only under circumstances when it reduced prostate cancer mortality by more than 50%, as reported online in Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Using our results, we estimated that if the number of newly diagnosed men with low-risk prostate cancer who selected observation with watchful waiting increased from 10% to 50%, it would result in a cost savings of more than $1 billion," Julia Hayes, MD, of Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and co-authors concluded. "If one half of the men who chose observation opted for watchful waiting and one half for active surveillance, it would save $500 million.

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