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Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer


Did you know that getting tested for prostate cancer doesn’t always mean seeking immediate treatment?  Each patient is different and what is “best” for one may not be “best” for another.


Active surveillance is a decision to carefully and safely watch prostate cancer very closely as low-grade prostate cancers may take many years to grow.   Active surveillance may be used in a couple of very different clinical settings.


Recent research indicates that immediate prostate cancer treatment may be safely deferred for a subgroup of healthy men with very low-risk prostate cancer.  While experts differ as to who exactly may qualify for this form of active surveillance, most authorities suggest that it is appropriate for men with no more than one or two positive biopsies of Gleason 6 cancer, as long as there is not too much cancer in the positive biopsy core(s).  Since these cancers are small and slow growing, these men are generally at low risk for spread of cancer while under active surveillance. Men may choose active surveillance as opposed to treatment in order to avoid the inconveniences and potential side effects of treatment.


If a man decides not to pursue immediate treatment, a critical element of active surveillance for healthy men with very low-risk prostate cancer is appropriate long-term follow-up, particularly follow-up prostate biopsies.  The good news is that repeat biopsies are usually targeted, highly accurate, and can be done under moderate sedation if needed so you do not have to feel the biopsy.


If you pursue a course of active surveillance, your urologist will advise you as to the timing of follow-up PSA testing and prostate biopsies.  A small subset of healthy men with very low risk prostate cancer who qualify for and pursue active surveillance will eventually require treatment due to cancer growth, as

determined by their follow up PSA and prostate biopsy results.


The most important factor in choosing active surveillance is close follow-up with your urologist as periodic testing, imaging, and future biopsies will make sure the cancer stays contained.  


There are many factors to consider when deciding which treatment to choose for your prostate cancer.  These decisions should be made in conjunction with your doctors, especially your urologist.  You may wish to talk with your primary care physician, family, and friends as well.


At KCUC, we specialize in offering personalized cancer treatment in a supportive, knowledgeable, accurate, friendly and courteous way.  We offer state-of-the-art treatments in a modern facility, so you can get in and out quickly, but in a setting, that’s relaxing and less stressful than a hospital.  We have some of the top Kansas City urologists and oncologists to help support you with multiple locations in Kansas and Missouri.  Visit us at www.kcuc.com.