That advice also holds true when men with prostate cancer have to choose which treatment is best for them, he said. Common options include active surveillance, surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.
When it comes to choosing an individual treatment, both Thompson and Etzioni said that most of the common treatments appear to be similarly effective so the decision may come down to the potential side effects of each treatment.
"There are important side effects from treatment that can affect quality of life, and they're not infrequent," Etzioni said.
Often, though, that decision "may be more of a gut feeling than an intellectual decision," Thompson said.
For men with slow-growing cancer, both experts said that active surveillance -- sometimes called watchful waiting -- is often a reasonable alternative to other treatments. The condition is monitored closely but not treated unless it progresses.
Men with more aggressive cancers may need to combine treatments to get the best results, Thompson said. Those who choose radiation to treat such cancer, he said, usually have better outcomes when they also have hormone therapy. For those who choose surgery for an aggressive cancer, results will probably be better if radiation is added to the treatment, he noted.
The American Urological Association Foundation has more on prostate cancer.
A companion article looks at how one man dealt with treatment options.
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