''Lumpectomy'' possible for some prostate tumors

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NEW YORK, Sep 14 (Reuters) Treating or removing just the part of the prostate that is cancerous may be an effective and less invasive approach for a considerable minority of men with early prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate, according to doctors in Durham, North Carolina.

Focal ablative therapy for prostate cancer ''may become similar to breast-conserving lumpectomy in women for the treatment of breast cancer,'' senior investigator Dr Thomas J Polascik told Reuters Health.

Based on pathology findings of men who had surgery for prostate cancer at Duke University, perhaps 1 in 5 men have completely one-sided prostate cancers, Polascik said, ''and as such could potentially be candidates for unilateral ablation of the cancerous side of the prostate rather than whole-gland radiation or surgical removal.'' As they report in the medical journal Cancer, Polascik and colleagues examined tissue samples from the removed prostates of 1,184 men with prostate cancer that was confined to the prostate.

In all, 227 (19.2 per cent) had completely one-sided cancers, and 164 of them (72.2 per cent) had minimal tumor involvement of 5 percent or less. Only 14 (6.2 per cent) had involvement beyond 15 per cent.

In such patients, Polascik said, ''the contralateral, non-cancerous side of the prostate would be spared, and therefore there exists the potential to preserve better quality of life, such as erectile and sexual function and urinary continence in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment.'' REUTERS PY RAI0859

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