What a strange study and what an odd conclusion. I don't question the numbers, but I do question the underlying assumptions.
Since married Caucasian men in high socioeconomic groups generally receive "the highest quality health care," one must assume that the authors consider all the other medical procedures men who meet those descript
ors undergo to be medically necessary and free from overtreatment.
In other words, men who meet the authors' descript
ion often have procedures such as knee replacements, hip replacements, hernia repairs, and who knows what else, and all these are apparently automatically deemed "good medicine" and "appropriate" Isn't it fair to consider that the wealthy white married guy could have limped around for the rest of his life on a painful pair of legs, just like the poor man who couldn't afford that surgery? Was he "overtreated"? Lately, I've been reading that many knee surgeries, for example, provide no better relief than the passage of time and less invasive procedures might have offered. But, we don't sweat "overtreatment" when we think about
knee surgery. For whatever reason, we only seem to worry about
"overtreatment" when it involves the ability to get an erection.
Are there men who could have postponed prostate surgery, or who could have chosen a less aggressive treatment? I'm sure there are.
Are there women who could have avoided a mastectomy, or a double mastectomy and chosen a lumpectomy instead? I'm sure there are.
Are we to assume that all the cardiac by-pass surgeries that men in these categories undergo are entirely necessary? That all cardiac catheterizations are necessary? That these procedures couldn't have been deferred in favor of lifestyle changes or less aggressive therapies? I guess so.
Most of us choose some sort of cause or issue as the center of our focus. For some, it's global warming or environmental issues, for example, and they see everything through the filter of that way of thinking.
I can't escape the feeling that some have chosen "overtreatment" as the windmill against which they must wage combat, and when they think of prostate cancer, that's their center of focus.
I'm still inclined to give men the benefit of the doubt. If they're in the group described, they're probably not ignorant of the issues involved, and if they make the decision to sign on the dotted line for their treatment, I just don't consider it to be "overtreatment." It's what they chose. It's their choice. And isn't "a man's right to choose" something to be respected? His body, his choice.
I may disagree with that choice, but I'm reluctant to call it "overtreatment."
Post Edited (clocknut) : 3/4/2015 8:45:02 AM (GMT-7)