HealthDay News — Men with localized prostate cancer (LPC) often have unrealistic survival expectations, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Jinping Xu, MD, from Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues examined the survival expectations of a sample of 260 patients with LPC with and without their chosen treatment. Participants, aged 75 years or younger, completed a self-administered survey.

The researchers found that 33%, 41%, 21%, and 5% of patients expected that they would live for less than 5 years, 5 to 10 years, 10 to 20 years, and more than 20 years without any treatment. With their chosen treatment, 3%, 9%, 33%, and 55%, respectively, expected to live less than 5 years, 5 to 10 years, 10 to 20 years, and more than 20 years. The differences in perceived life expectancy were predicted by treatment chosen, age, general health perception, and perceived cancer seriousness, but not by race and actual tumor risk. Men who chose surgery or radiation expected greater survival gains than men who chose watchful waiting or active surveillance, after adjustment for other covariates.

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“Most patients with LPC underestimated their life expectancy without treatment and overestimated the gain in life expectancy with surgery or radiation,” the authors write. “These unrealistic expectations may compromise patients’ ability to make informed treatment decisions and may contribute to overtreatment of LPC.”

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  1. Xu J, Janisse J, Ruterbusch JJ, et al. Patients’ Survival Expectations With and Without Their Chosen Treatment for Prostate Cancer. Ann Fam Med. 2016; doi: 10.1370/afm.1925