During active surveillance, prostate cancer is carefully monitored for signs of progression. A PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) are usually administered periodically along with a repeat biopsy of the prostate at one year and then at specific intervals thereafter. If symptoms develop, or if tests indicate the cancer is growing, treatment might be warranted.
When to Choose Active Surveillance
The challenge has been to identify those men who do not need immediate therapy, which is usually decided based on age, comorbidities, and cancer factors like the PSA, stage, amount of cancer in the biopsy, and Gleason grade.
This decision is best made with your doctors and you should be followed closely over time to make sure that if your cancer does progress, it will still be caught early.
Active Surveillance May Be Right for You If:
- You are a healthy man with a low-grade (Gleason 6 or under), low-risk prostate cancer (low PSA and stage) that appears to be low in volume (small amount of cancer found on biopsy, for example), and you have concerns about therapy triggering potency issues or urinary symptoms.
- You are an older man with limited life expectancy
- You are currently battling other serious disorders or diseases, such as heart disease, long-standing high blood pressure, or poorly controlled diabetes.