Understanding Prostate Cancer: Active Surveillance
In active surveillance, your doctor will watch your prostate cancer very closely. This means postponing surgery or radiation. Your doctor will check you regularly—every 3 to 6 months. After a year, your doctor may want to do another biopsy to check the Gleason score. Your doctor will be watching you for:
- An increase in the Gleason score
- An increase in your PSA level
- The development of symptoms
If any of these happen, your doctor will most likely recommend another treatment like chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
Active surveillance is typically recommended when the prostate cancer is:
- At an early stage
- Slow growing
Your doctor may also recommend this treatment strategy if you are older or have other health issues.
Before choosing active surveillance, ask your doctor these questions:
- Is it safe for me to postpone treatment?
- If I choose active surveillance, can I change my mind later on?
- How often will I have checkups?
- Which tests will I need?
- Will I need a repeat biopsy?
- How will we know if the prostate cancer is getting worse?
- Between checkups, what problems should I look for?