Dr. Kearns on Choosing Treatment for Patients With Prostate Cancer

James Kearns, MD

James Kearns, MD, assistant professor of urology, Levine Cancer Institute, discusses factors to consider when choosing treatment for a patient with prostate cancer.

When choosing an effective therapy for prostate cancer, physicians need to choose an approach that not only will prolong survival but will also help patients maintain their quality of life (QoL), says Kearns.

There are many treatments available, but a physician has to choose an approach that is individualized based on each patient’s disease characteristics. He adds that it is important to remember that every action will have side effects. For example, active surveillance for low-risk cancer can delay a patient’s risk for physical side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence, but can increase the anxiety associated with having cancer that is not immediately treated.

Kearns notes that there have been several recent QoL studies comparing radiation therapy with surgery for the primary treatment of prostate cancer. Although in general, these patients have similar QoL, different domains of QoL have different levels, he says. As such, communicating these factors with patients to help them make better treatment decisions is imperative.
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