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Study: N.H. Makes Gains In Treating Prostate Cancer

Allison Quantz for NHPR

A study out of Dartmouth suggests New Hampshire is making good progress in the fight against prostate cancer.

New Hampshire doctors are increasingly doing what the medical community recommends: treating high-risk prostate cancer with surgery and radiation, but leaving low-risk cancer alone, and simply monitoring it.

"It is frankly such a prevalent disease associated with aging that if a man lives long enough - and if you go looking for a prostate cancer - you’re likely to find it," says Dr. Elias Hyams, a orologist at Dartmouth and the study's lead author. "So if we were to uniformly treat these low risk cancers, we’d be inflicting quite a bit of harm on men."

Between 2004 and 2011 - for patients with low-risk prostate cancer - rates of radiation decreased from 49 to 19 percent, while rates of simply monitoring the disease went up from 17 to 42 percent.

Data for the study comes from the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry, a public data pool that tracks cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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