Low grade cancer which does not affect the whole of the prostate, may progress very slowly. With this type of cancer, active surveillance instead of immediate treatment may be reccomended. This is not the same as watchful waiting.
Research has shown that it may take many years for low grade prostate cancer to become a cause for concern, whereas immediate treatment may result in side effects which could impact quality of life.
All treatment options that are offered to men are first approved by a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) of expert medical consultants. They will use global and national guidelines and their own experience to decide which options should be offered.
Choosing active surveillance rather than treatment is a very personal choice. It has become more popular and widely used in recent years as it helps to delay – or in some cases avoid – treatment side effects. On the other hand, some men find it hard to live with uncertainty and would prefer to have treatment earlier.
Active surveillance involves a strict regime of PSA blood tests every three months and a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) every six months.
A further prostate biopsy may be offered after 12-18 months to see if the cancer has progressed.
If the cancer appears to be progressing during surveillance men can switch to cancer treatment with no difference in the chance of cure.
Active surveillance is an individual choice and there is no right or wrong decision.
Speak to one of our nurses
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