(HealthDay News) — New research suggests that a wait-and-watch approach for prostate cancer isn’t being used often enough, and that more men are being treated than may be necessary. The study appears online Feb. 19 in JAMA Oncology.

Additionally, the researchers expressed concern about the numbers of men being treated with radiation therapy, regardless of their tumor specifics. “Too many men are being treated for prostate cancer, and too many are being treated with radiation therapy,” study lead author Karim Chamie, M.D., an assistant professor of urology at the University of California in Los Angeles, told HealthDay.

In the new study, the researchers aimed to figure out why many men don’t choose the wait-and-watch option. The investigators tracked 37,621 men in the United States who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2007. The researchers followed the men, who were all at least 65 when diagnosed, through 2009. Only 10% of those diagnosed chose to forgo treatment, at least temporarily, the investigators found. Almost 58% of the men chose radiation therapy, while 19% had their prostate removed.

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Sandip Prasad, M.D., an assistant professor of urology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, who co-wrote a commentary in the same issue of the journal, didn’t go as far as to say that radiation is overused. Still, he told HealthDay: “We believe treatment — radiation or surgery — shouldn’t be 90% of what’s being done.”


  1. Chamie, K, et al. JAMA Oncol. Published online February 19, 2015; doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2014.192.
  2. Prasad, S, et al. JAMA Oncol. Published online February 19, 2015. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2014.183.