Advantages And Disadvantages Of Treatment Options

In Seeds of Hope, Michael Dorso decried the contradictory and confusing advice he found in the medical literature on prostate cancer treatments. Urologists advocated surgery, radiologists advocated radiation treatment, and ''cancer specialists who were neither surgeons nor radiation therapists were split between the two treatment modalities.'' Moreover, a panel of experts in the American Urological Association tried to objectively settle the treatment issues but ''found the data inadequate for valid comparisons of treatment. . . . Basically they gave up!'' Dorso, himself a physician with prostate cancer, concluded in a note of exasperation: ''What's a mother to do?''31

That is a very reasonable question. If a physician with prostate cancer has difficulty sorting out the treatment options, how can a layman be expected to do so? And yet that is the message given by most prostate cancer specialists: ''In the final analysis, Mr. Smith, the decision is up to you.''

In an effort to help men assess the options, the following sections summarize some advantages and disadvantages of each of the major treatment options. These observations should be regarded as general considerations to which there are always exceptions.

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