There are a number of models that allow doctors to assist patients in predicting the risk of prostate cancer recurrence following therapy. These nomograms (mathematical models) are used to predict the risk of PSA failure after treatment and may help to educate men and their families to the risk of suffering PSA failure after surgery or radiation therapy. PSA failure refers to a rising PSA after treatment.
It should be remembered that these models have accuracy rates somewhere in the 75% range. While these models are useful during discussions about treatments of prostate cancer, models should be placed into perspective by the patient and physician with regard to the individual patient’s overall health status and personal preferences for treatment.
Discussing cancer treatment options are perplexing. Patient’s anxieties can be relieved by understanding the high chances of overall success from either radiation therapy or surgical treatment options. Urologists and radiation treatment specialists have been early pioneers in the use of mathematical models for educating patients. Any questions that patients may have about the use of these models should be brought up during their discussion with their doctors.