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Staging localized prostate cancer useless

A new study published early online in the journal Cancer suggests staging localized prostate cancer does not help predict a patient's outcome or prognosis.

The current staging system is intended to determine the extent or severity of prostate cancer that has not yet metastasized.

But the staging of localized prostate cancer does not predict a patient's risk of cancer recurrence after radical prostatectomy or having his prostate gland removed, according to the study. 

Adam Reese, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues wanted to know how reliable the staging system is and what is responsible for the inaccuracy of staging prostate cancer in determining a patient's prognosis.

The reeachers found clinical stage was assigned incorrectly in 35 percent of 3,875 cases registered in a multi-institutional national disease registry.  The errors occurred mostly because physicians did not considered results from transrectal ultrasound tests and incorrectly considered biopsy results when assigning stage.

Unfortunately, Reese et al. found even after the stages were corrected, there was no correlation between clicnical stage and prostate cancer outcome after radical prostatectomy.

"Our findings question the utility of our current staging system for localized prostate cancer," said Dr. Reese.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in about 217,000 men and kills 32,000 each year in the United States.  The malignancy in most cases is not aggressive and men aged 70 or older may not have to receive screening as any treatment may cause more harm than good. 

There are many things men can do to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Many dietary factors affects the risk of prostate cancer. Polyphenols found in plant foods, vitamin C, Mediterranean diet, soy and Brazil nuts, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and fish are believed to cut the risk while dairy products, pesticides, drinking alcohol, omega-6 fatty acids, red meat and processed meat among others boost the risk.

David Liu