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Insight into prostate cancer treatment

Narrator: This is Science Today. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death in men, after lung cancer. But urologist Matthew Cooperberg of the University of California, San Francisco says it's a small minority of prostate cancers that are actually lethal.

Cooperberg: Most men with prostate cancer die of cardiac disease, of heart attacks just like men who don't have prostate cancer. So, one of the greatest challenges is really targeting therapy appropriately to the tumors that need treatment, so we know which ones are likely to progress and which ones are not. But one of the real challenges and frankly something that we have not done that well at the national level is matching therapy appropriately to the patients who are most likely to benefit.

Narrator: Cooperberg recently led a cost-effectiveness analysis that found that in intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancers, both survival and cost generally favored surgery over other forms of treatment.

Cooperberg: This model validated previous reports that survival appears to be slightly better for men with higher-risk disease who choose surgery over radiation therapy as the first line of treatment.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.