Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Outcomes research in prostate disease

An informed way of looking at treatment results

The accuracy of prostate cancer statistics, usually the focus of clinical conversations, entered the realm of presidential politics at the end of October 2007. The New York Times reported that a figure cited in a radio advertisement for Rudolph Giuliani, a candidate for president, was in dispute. Giuliani said that his chances of surviving prostate cancer in the United States were 82%. In England, he claimed, his chances of survival were just 44%.

The Office for National Statistics in Britain cried foul, saying that the five-year survival rate from prostate cancer there is actually 74.4%. Doctors weighed in on the controversy, saying that it was unfair to compare survival rates in the two countries because prostate cancer is more likely to be diagnosed in its earliest stages in the United States, where prostate cancer screening has become routine. According to the Times, the disputed figure was drawn from a journal article that was seven years old, and the author of that article acknowledged that his calculations were crude.

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