In a report coming out of the University of California, San Francisco, researchers have determined that prostate cancer staging just does not appear to matter after surgery. Staging is used to determine the size of a tumor, such as T1 or T2, as well as the chances that the cancer will recur. Oftentimes, cancer staging helps physicians and patients decide  what treatments and options they have following initial surgery.

The study, published in the Journal of Cancer, determined that the staging for prostate cancer was improperly assessed 35.4%.

In 55.1% of those cases, the patient was given an inaccurately low clinical staging and in 44.9% of those mistakes, the staging consisted of an inappropriately elevated staging.

Importantly, the researchers found that these errors did not matter. How ironic. The report commented that even after the errors were corrected, staging did not predict the chances of the disease returning.

So here's my thought. If the staging is often inaccurate following surgery, and it makes no difference in predicting whether or not the cancer will return, what then is the point of creating a staging system to allow doctors and patients the opportunity to make educated decisions about treatment when the basis for those decisions are inaccurate?
Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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