When a man's physician diagnoses prostate cancer, difficult decisions about the patient's treatment course lie ahead. Surgery or radiation therapy could either extend life or needlessly impair the man's quality of life. Two decades ago, a diagnosis of prostate cancer was tantamount to a death sentence. Physicians detected the cancer mainly through a physical exam of the rectum, which usually identified abnormal growths too late for surgery to stop the cancer from spreading throughout the body.
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