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Read Original Story

Study: Prostate cancer surgery helps younger men


5 Star

Study: Prostate cancer surgery helps younger men

Our Review Summary

This story did a good job describing the results of a recently published study which continues to follow a large group of men in Sweden who either had immediate surgery to remove their prostate or waited until they had evidence of that their prostate cancer progressed before undergoing treatment.

Strong caveat in the fourth sentence.

The story included information about how prostate cancer is commonly screened for in the US and that this differs from the approach used with the men in the study and that this could influence the outcomes.

Well done!


Why This Matters

Helping men understand when there may be and when there may not be benefit from aggressive immediate treatment of prostate cancer is valuable for those diagnosed with early stage disease.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no information about the respective financial costs of the treatments for prostate cancer discussed.  Costs would include treating the double digit rates of incontinence and erectile dysfunction in these younger men who do have surgery. The surgery may help them live longer, but many, especially since younger at time of surgery, live decades with these potential harms and folllowup costs of the surgical choice.  This should get at least a line in such stories.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story did a good job of identifying those men (i.e. those younger than 65 at the time of symptomatic prostate cancer ) who reduced their chance of dying by having surgery to remove their prostate. Good use of absolute numbers.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The story provided readers with insight that for men younger than 65 years of age at the time of diagnosis, there was a significantly greater chance of dying in the men who did not have immediate surgery to remove their prostate gland.  The story also described that a substantial proportion of men who did have surgery to remove their prostate gland experienced sexual and/or urinary problems.  Best job of the three stories we reviewed in quantifying harms.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


The story did a fine job providing information about where the study reported on had been published,  the number of men and the length of time they had been studied, their age,  the two treatments the men were randomly assigned to, as well as background information on the first indication that the men had prostate cancer.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story included quotes from the clinician who wrote the editorial which accompanied the study reported on as well as another clinician without direct ties to the study detailed in the story.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story provided some of the comparative information from the study reported on about surgery to remove the prostate and waiting to see if prostate cancer would progress before undergoing active treatment.  In addition, the story included a list of the common utilized approaches to active treatment of prostate cancer.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story was clear about the fact that the overwhelming majority of men in the study had had their prostate cancer first detected because of symptoms which is means that they were in a different place in the prostate cancer timeline than men whose first inkling about prostate cancer is that they have an elevated PSA level in their blood.  So it describes practices in Europe many years ago which are different than current care in the US.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story was clear the the men in the study reported on had been part of the investigation which started in 1989.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


The story did not rely on a press release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory


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