The real "disease" facing many prostate patients isn't cancer -- it's regret.

It's a deep regret that sinks in only too late, when you find yourself battling the lasting side effects of a surgery you never needed in the first place.

Now, a new survey shows how most men who undergo prostate surgery have no idea what they're in for -- and a year after the procedure, most of them are positively stunned by the loss in quality of life... not to mention all the adult diapers they need.

Researchers asked 152 cancer patients about to undergo a full or partial prostate removal what sexual and urinary functions they expected to have a year later.

Half expected to be just as good after as they were before...while 17 percent actually expected better sexual function.

Little did they know!

One year later, and these men were positively confused -- because what they got didn't come close to matching what they expected: Just 40 percent found their sexual function met expectations, while only 36 percent had the urinary function they thought they'd get.

Every man in the study actually went through counseling that was supposed to manage his expectations -- but that didn't stop most of them from feeling as if they were on the wrong end of a classic bait-and-switch scheme.

I'm sure more than a few weren't just disappointed -- they were ticked off, and I can't help but wonder how much angrier these men would be if they realized they never even needed that life-wrecking surgery in the first place.

As I've told you before, the numbers behind prostate treatment just don't add up: We've chopped up more prostates than ever... yet we haven't made a dent in the disease's death rate. (Read more here.)

That's why most prostate cancers should just be left alone -- and why you shouldn't be so quick to blindly follow your doctor's orders after any cancer diagnosis.

Instead of quickly signing up for surgery, drugs or radiation treatments, take some time to study your cancer and learn all your options -- including doing nothing at all.

A great place to start your own cancer research is on the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute, which features an extensive free online library.

You won't find any regrets there -- just real answers.