Prevention of Prostate Cancer: 18 Years of Follow-up

prostate anatomy saggital view

Background: The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (18,880 men) performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug finasteride for the prevention of prostate cancer. At the end of 7 years, there was food news (a 25% reduction in total prostate cancer), but bad news as well (there was a 27% increase in higher-grade prostate cancers).

What’s New: We now have 17 year follow-up. The survival rates at 18 years are virtually identical among men who had been randomized to finasteride or a placebo. While the drug did not appear to reduce mortality, the increased incidence of higher-grade Gleason scores among finasteride-treated patient did not appear to increase the death rate either.

My Take: Absent the use of finasteride for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or benign enlargement of the prostate), the use of finasteride seems unwarranted to me. On the other hand, physical activity may significantly lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

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