Study suggests low-risk patients can forego immediate treatment

June 17, 2013
Julia Hayes, MD

Many men with low-risk, localized prostate cancers can safely choose active surveillance or “watchful waiting” instead of undergoing immediate treatment and have better quality of life while reducing health care costs, according to a study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Writing in the June 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the authors said their statistical models showed that “observation is a reasonable and, in some situations, cost-saving alternative to initial treatment” for the estimated 70 percent of men whose cancer is classified as low-risk at diagnosis.

The researchers, led by Julia Hayes, MD, a medical oncologist in the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber, said their findings support observation - active surveillance and watchful waiting - as a reasonable and underused option for men with low-risk disease.

An article from Neurology Today discusses the recent meeting of the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) in which the panel voted that the evidence is inadequate to demonstrate that beta amyloid PET imaging improves Alzheimer outcomes.

The article also highlights the findings from a recent white paper completed by ICER evaluating the diagnostic value and clinical benefits of testing for Alzheimer's Disease that Steve presented to MEDCAC. The purpose of the white paper was to help inform future research so that it is possible to evaluate different tests for Alzheimer's disease in a way that will generate “adequate” evidence for not only patients and clinicians, but for insurers as well. 

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Scott Gazelle was recently one of six MGH radiologists inducted as a fellow in the American College of Radiology (ACR). Only 10% of the College's 34,000 members achieve this distinction.