just like all other cancers, is a silent disease, claiming thousands of lives
around the world every year. Cancer is among the scariest and dreaded diseases,
considering the treatment options one has to consider after being diagnosed
radiation therapy are usually related to baldness, while surgery is feared by
almost all. In such a scenario, a new mode of treatment, preferably minimally
invasive and having lesser side effects is needed. Enter active surveillance,
the new breakthrough in the field of prostate cancer treatment. Read below to
know more about this new treatment mode, and how it can help and treat patients
suffering from prostate cancer.
The 'watchful waiting':
tumors have a habit of progressing slowly, leading to late diagnosis. It may
present certain symptoms like impotence, urinary problems and bowel ailments,
but most of these problems tend to be shunned off and ignored. When diagnosed
with prostate cancer in the early stages, watchful waiting can be effective.
This type of
management is usually needed to closely monitor the progression of the tumor
and to help decide the treatment based on the changes in symptoms.
Active surveillance methods:
Active surveillance, a relatively new treatment option for cancer
patients includes a number of small tests and procedures to check the progression
of the tumor more carefully. Active surveillance techniques may make use of
rectal exams and tests, PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests and
ultrasounds. Sometimes biopsy may also be required to check if the tumor is
getting more aggressive.
a doctoral student from the Jonas Hugosson Academy, University of Gutenburg,
explains the determination of the type of therapy to be used for the specific
patient, based on the results from these lab tests. Progressive tumors may need
to undergo radiation therapy or surgery; however, many men can totally avoid or
delay the adverse effects occurring after these treatments by active
conducted in the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, analyzed 1000
men suffering from prostate cancer. Of the 1000 men, only 46% agreed to use
active surveillance as their treatment strategy. The results obtained after the
treatment showed that around 63% of the men who considered active surveillance
as a treatment kept using it for their follow-up period, extending to as far as
So does it really help?
active surveillance may be a boon for the low-risk group, patients who have
progressed prostate cancer may be risky. Active surveillance for these
individuals may increase the risk of developing incurable or end stage cancers.
Any risk factors?
the treatment itself doesn't have any side effects as such, but if continued
for long, it can risk the progression of the tumor. Furthermore, the PSA test
done as a part of the treatment isn't reliable, as some cancers spread even
before the PSA levels increase.
the cancer does spread during the course of your treatment, you may have to
undergo the conventional invasive methods of treatment.
The final verdict:
this treatment is a relatively new treatment option, active surveillance needs
to be considered among low risk patients rather than high risk ones.