Wait! Don't Cut!

A new drug could save some men from prostate surgery

For the 10 million mostly older American men who suffer from enlargement of the prostate, the condition brings frequent and sometimes painful urination and is usually treated by surgical removal of the gland. But surgery carries the risk of impotence and loss of bladder control -- along with the unpleasantness of the operation itself. That explains the fanfare with which Merck & Co. announced it had just won approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a new drug, Proscar, that can shrink prostates without surgery.

Can is the operative word. Only one-third of the subjects in clinical trials showed a...

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