During active surveillance for prostate cancer, your doctor closely monitors your prostate cancer for any changes. Active surveillance for prostate cancer is sometimes called expectant management or watchful waiting.
No cancer treatment is provided during active surveillance for prostate cancer. This means medications, radiation and surgery aren't used. Periodic tests are done to check for signs the cancer is growing.
You might consider active surveillance for prostate cancer if your cancer is small, expected to grow very slowly, confined to one area of your prostate, and isn't causing signs or symptoms.
If you have other health problems that limit your life expectancy, active surveillance for prostate cancer may also be a reasonable approach.
Active surveillance for prostate cancer is used to avoid treatment side effects in men with a very low risk of prostate cancer progression.
Because prostate cancer grows very slowly, men who are diagnosed when the cancer is very small may never have signs and symptoms of the disease. Many may live out their normal life spans before the cancer ever grows large enough to require treatment.
Active surveillance for prostate cancer may be appropriate for you if:
Risks of active surveillance for prostate cancer include:
During active surveillance, you'll have regular visits with your doctor to monitor the cancer, usually every few months.
At these visits, your doctor may perform the following tests and procedures:
Many men who choose active surveillance for prostate cancer never undergo prostate cancer treatment. The cancer may never grow, and these men may live out their normal life spans.
But some men may choose to treat their prostate cancer if:
Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on your particular situation, but may include surgery, medications and radiation.