The same skill "curve" then applies to the specialist prostate cancer readers as well. It too, is a skill unto itself. It reminds me of the assumption that if a surgeon has don 1000 proceedures, he is good..not necessarily, he may have been doing it poorly 1000 times not all people migrate to the far end of the "skill curve" with experience.
@Sheep, of course there is no assurance that any one surgeon is better because of experience. However, studies have shown that experience does matter in choice of a surgeon and, if one wants to improve his odds of success, choosing an experienced surgeon is one way to do it. Here is something I posted here on this subject in 2010:
The importance of surgeon's experience as it relates to prostate cancer outcome is underscored by the results of a study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (volume 99, page 1171).
Researchers analyzed the outcomes of 7,765 radical prostatectomies performed by 72 surgeons at four major academic medical centers. "Biochemical" recurrence was defined as a postsurgery PSA level greater than 0.4 ng/mL followed by a subsequent higher PSA level. The analysis took into account patient and tumor characteristics, such as pre-operative PSA level and Gleason grade. The men's PSA levels were measured every three to four months in the first year after surgery, twice in the second year, and annually during the following years.
The researchers found that surgical outcomes improved along with the number of radical prostatectomies a surgeon had performed, leveling off only after about
250 surgeries. The five-year probability of experiencing a recurrence of prostate cancer was 18% for surgeons who had performed only 10 operations compared with 11% for surgeons who had performed at least 250 surgeries.
Bottom line on prostate cancer surgery: The results suggest that you can improve your odds of a successful outcome from radical prostatectomy by taking time to find a surgeon with extensive experience.
@Hero, I think the stats quoted by Allen are pretty revealing. Also, if you want to Google the subject, you can see that determination of PCa pathology on a biopsy is a very difficult task despite the guidelines provided. Allen's stats, Prato's experience (and many more like it) and common sense are enough for me to continue to suggest that new members seek an opinion from a pathologist who specializes in reading PCa pathology.
Forum Moderator-Prostate Cancer. Age 62 (67 now), G 3 + 4 = 7, T1C, PSA 4.2, 2/16 cancerous, 27cc. Brachytherapy 12/9/08. 73 Iodine-125 seeds. Everything continues to function normally. PSA: 6 mo: 1.4, 1 yr: 1.0, 2 yr: .8, 3 yr: .5, 4/5 yr: .2, 6 yr: .1. My docs are "delighted"! My journey: