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Concerns over prominent prostate cancer study: Yale Urology Chair speaks out

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Yale Urology Chair Isaac Y. Kim, MD, PhD, MBA, has published his concerns surrounding interpreted results in the landmark ProtecT Study [a 15-year prostate cancer outcomes study]. Kim recently sat down to explain what prompted him to detail his alarm in such a public way and who he specifically hopes is listening:

Q: What struck you first when you read the latest published ProtecT Study results and some headlines that followed?

A: I was already seeing how the public may incorrectly interpret the findings to say, “If you don’t do anything with prostate cancer, you’re going to be fine.”

Q: Why was it so important to you to write and publish a detailed response, laying out your concerns?

A: There is a public perception, a misperception, I’m afraid, that views prostate cancer as an inactive or relatively benign disease. Due to the way the results of ProtecT were being interpreted, I knew the misperception on prostate cancer would be further reinforced. Prostate cancer mortality is anticipated to climb again after decades of decline as the incidence of advanced prostate cancer has increased over the last five-to-six years. Many experts, including myself, believe this change in prostate cancer landscape is due in large part to the perception that prostate cancer is mostly indolent. Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to try and set the record straight.

Q: What do you hope will come from your response/critique of the study?

A: I hope to make the public aware that prostate cancer is a complex disease. There is not one across-the-board treatment to address this cancer. The ProtecT Study, I feel, tried to come up with a simplified answer for prostate cancer treatment outcomes. However, the devil is always in the details. The biggest thing I want the public to take away from my editorial is to be sure to talk to the experts.

Q: Whom are you especially speaking to?

A: In addition to the public, I hope to reach primary care doctors. They are usually on the front lines of identifying/screening patients who are at risk for prostate cancer. I especially want to help them correctly interpret the data in this study.

Click to read Dr. Kim's Full Editorial

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