U.S. Hospital Adopts ‘Watchful Waiting’ as Standard for Low-Risk Prostate Cancers Due to MRI Advances

U.S. Hospital Adopts ‘Watchful Waiting’ as Standard for Low-Risk Prostate Cancers Due to MRI Advances
Overlake Medical Center, a nonprofit, 349-bed regional hospital and medical clinic network based in Bellevue, Washington, announced the adoption of a new standard of care for prostate cancers, with the potential to dramatically decrease the rate of over-treatment, including unnecessary surgeries. The revised protocols were made possible by new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies that improve the diagnostic accuracy of biopsies to more precisely identify cancer type and optimum treatment path for patients. While cancer of the prostate is the most common form of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, there is a wide range of severity, with some less aggressive and fast-growing than others. Consequently, treating all prostate cancers the same can lead to excessive treatment in some cases, with patients unnecessarily having to deal with potential side effects of radiation therapy or lasting quality-of-life issues, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, that frequently are associated with surgery. "One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but not all prostate cancers require immediate treatment," Dr. Khanh Pham, a urologic oncologist at Washington Urology Associates, said in an Overlake Hospital press release. "In the past it has been a challenge to distinguish between tumors that are potentially deadly and those that are indolent." "We are pleased that Overlake is at the forefront of care," added Pham, an expert in robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery for the treatment of prostate cancer and other urologic diseases. "Investing in technology that helps us better view high-grade tumors, as well as perform MRI-guided prostate biopsies, which both have huge positive ramifications for patien
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