Men with prostate cancer have difficult choices to make about their therapy. The two most common options are surgical removal of the prostate or radiation. Until now, radiation has been perceived to have fewer complications that interfere with quality of life, but studies have been limited to several years in most cases.
Now a study that followed men for 15 years concludes that in the long run there are no significant differences between these approaches. Although erectile dysfunction was more likely in the first few years after prostatectomy, after 15 years the groups were indistinguishable. ED was nearly universal among all the men in the study.
Urinary incontinence was likewise more common following surgery but the passage of time evened out the differences. Based on this study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, neither treatment has an obvious advantage over the other in the long term.
[N Engl J Med, January 31, 2013]