The active surveillance approach, also known as “watchful waiting,” is sometimes used for men diagnosed with low risk, early stage prostate cancer. The prostate cancer specialists at Comprehensive Urology in Beverly Hills may recommend active surveillance for patients considered to be at a lower risk of metastatic prostate cancer in order to avoid unnecessary procedures and potential over treatment.
How Does Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting Work?
In spite of the complications and side effects sometimes associated with certain treatments for prostate cancer, such as urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction, as little as 12% of men with low risk prostate cancer in the United States are believed to take advantage of the active surveillance approach. With more men surviving prostate cancer than ever before, catching the disease early and carefully monitoring the progression can prove successful for patients with slower growing tumors that do not show signs of actively growing or spreading.
Under active surveillance and watchful waiting, the progression of the cancer is carefully monitored, and active treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, or robotic surgery are put on hold until the prostate cancer begins to show signs of growing or spreading (metastasizing) outside of the prostate gland to neighboring tissue or organs.
Is Active Surveillance Right For You?
There can be some confusion as to the efficacy and safety of the approach. Some patients might worry that “doing nothing” after a prostate cancer diagnosis could make the condition worse, or lead to life-threatening consequences. However, there are established guidelines as to the types of prostate cancer cases and the patients for whom the active surveillance method are deemed appropriate. Tumors vary from patient to patient and certain localized tumors with a very low probability of growing or spreading are ideal for the approach, as treatment may be unnecessary and sometimes do more harm than good in some cases.
Know the Risks
All men should become familiar with their own medical history, and learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer in order to determine when to undergo prostate cancer screening. After a diagnosis, the skilled urologists at Comprehensive Urology carefully evaluate patients on a case by case basis, to determine whether active surveillance and watchful waiting is appropriate.
Contact a Skilled Los Angeles Urologist for Prostate Cancer Treatment
To learn more about prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options, and whether the active surveillance approach is right for you, call Comprehensive Urology today at (310) 499-2756, or schedule an appointment online today.
Next, read more about What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and How Can It Affect You?