Patterns of care and treatment trends for Canadian men with localized low-risk prostate cancer: an analysis of provincial cancer registry data
Many prostate cancers (pcas) are indolent and, if left untreated, are unlikely to cause death or morbidity in a man’s lifetime. As a result of testing for prostate-specific antigen, more such cases are being identified, leading to concerns about “overdiagnosis” and consequent overtreatment of pca. To mitigate the risks associated with overtreatment (that is, invasive therapies that might cause harm to the patient without tangible benefit), approaches such as active surveillance are now preferred for many men with low-risk localized pca (specifically, T1/2a, prostates pecific antigen ≤ 10 ng/mL, and Gleason score ≤ 6). Here, we report on patterns of care and treatment trends for men with localized low-risk pca.
The provinces varied substantially with respect to the types of primary treatment received by men with localized low-risk pca. From 2010 to 2013, many men had no record of surgical or radiation treatment within 1 year of diagnosis—a proxy for active surveillance; the proportion ranged from 53.3% in Nova Scotia to 80.8% in New Brunswick. Among men who did receive primary treatment, the use of radical prostatectomy ranged from 12.0% in New Brunswick to 35.9% in Nova Scotia. The use of radiation therapy (external-beam radiation therapy or brachytherapy) ranged from 4.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 17.6% in Alberta. Treatment trends over time suggest an increase in the use of active surveillance. The proportion of men with low-risk pca and no record of surgical or radiation treatment rose to 69.9% in 2013 from 46.1% in 2010 for all provinces combined.
The provinces varied substantially with respect to patterns of care for localized low-risk pca. Treatment trends over time suggest an increasing use of active surveillance. Those findings can further the discussion about the complex care associated with pca and identify opportunities for improvement in clinical practice.