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Troubled Treatment

UK Study:  Two-Thirds of Prostate Cancer Patients Receive Unnecessary Treatment

Is chemotherapy really necessary in many cancer patients?

Is chemotherapy really necessary in many cancer patients?

When it comes to diagnosing people with disease, doctors often put the cart before the horse.  They overestimate the seriousness of the disease, putting a patient’s physical and mental health on edge and sapping their quality of life in the process.

Now I don’t mean to paint too broad a stroke on the medical profession; the overwhelming majority of doctors are highly qualified practitioners and serve the best interest of their patient.  But malpractice has become commonplace, too commonplace, as a recent study suggests 60 percent of people treated for prostate cancer receive treatment unnecessarily.

On the surface, this sounds absurd.  How can anyone receive unnecessary treatment for a disease as degenerative and progressive as prostate cancer (Worldwide, it is the fifth most diagnosed cancer; in America, it is second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths annually)?

Well according to a new study that looked into whether or not this was happening, the aggressiveness of prostate cancer is demonstrated through the production of a particular protein.  When doctors find this protein in the blood, called Hsp-27, it’s a tell-tale sign that the cancer is advanced and will metastasize.

But when researchers reviewed the treatment profiles of 4,000 prostate cancer patients over a 15-year period, two-thirds of those that received chemotherapy did not have this protein in their blood.  In other words, the doctors could have taken less aggressive measures to treat the condition as opposed to chemotherapy, which kills both the healthy and the unhealthy cells.

The research was performed by researchers from the University of Liverpool and published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers did not point out how many people died in the course of their study, but it would be interesting to know, even if it can’t be ruled out definitively whether it was the chemotherapy or the pancreatic cancer that wound up killing them.

At any rate, this is just the latest reason for why it’s important to weigh all the options before committing to chemotherapy.  It’s an extremely invasive procedure, and as this study illustrates, is often used unnecessarily.  Should your doctor recommend chemotherapy, it may not be a bad idea to get a second opinion before making that commitment.

Source:
sciencedaily.com

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