I really, really doubt that surgeons know their rates of cancer control in the long run. Aside from surgeons at places like Johns Hopkins who run single institution studies.
For example, I haven't been back to see my surgeon since I was referred for salvage radiation. Is he tracking me statistically, years later? I doubt it. He probably only glances at the reports the radiation oncology sends to him and my primary care doc.
What surgeons are more likely to know is their rate of positive margins. Not a fantastic tool for the patient, since it isn't all that great as a prognosticator all by itself.
I think it's very hard to compare surgeons objectively, because do the surgeons really know their own progression-free survival rates for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years? I would assume not. I'm not singling out urologists here--I bet the same holds true for cardiologists, pulmonologists, etc.
The literature does not usually refer to "cure rates" and for good reason. It's not easily quantifiable. What can be measured are things like progression-free survival, cause-specific survival, overall mortality, etc at specified time periods.
I am very interested in the potential cure offered by salvage radiation. What I study is not a cure rate, but the percentage free of PSA progression as time progresses from the end of radiation. Even if I read that 25% are progression-free at 10 years, I would not assume that those 25% are "cured" the way I define it, because if the percentage is still dropping from 8 to 10 years, why should it stop falling there?
The others who have written about
5 year survival rates not being that useful are right. The vast majority of men diagnosed today would not die from cancer within 5 years no matter what they chose, even nothing at all. With Gleason 6 (assuming it is--the risk is that biopsy path results often differ from surgical path results and perhaps he has another "real" Gleason) he can choose just about
anything and should still not be bothered by prostate cancer a decade from now.
I suggest getting the book "Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer" (2007 ed.), and not rushing into any particular treatment.
Dx Feb 2006, PSA 9 @age 43
RRP Apr 2006 - Gleason 3+4, T2c, NX MX, pos margins
PSA 5/06 <0.1, 8/06 0.2, 12/06 0.6, 1/07 0.7.
Salvage radiation (IMRT) total dose 70.2 Gy, Jan-Mar 2007@ age 44
PSA 6/07 0.1, 9/07 and thereafter <0.1pcabefore50.blogspot.com