A new long-term study was recently presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich, Germany, comparing the results of prostate cancer treatment methods, which include:
- Active surveillance (AS)
- Immediate curative treatment
Active surveillance (ongoing monitoring) was shown to lead to better overall quality of life for men with low-risk prostate cancer than immediate surgery or radiotherapy.
A cancer that bears a lot more study
Prostate is the most common cancer in men, and most cases of the disease are treated quickly — by surgery or radiotherapy (RT). And both of these treatments can produce significant side effects. So a wait-and-watch alternative is increasingly considered for patients with less aggressive cancer.
Keeping a patient under AS means that the cancer is regularly monitored at ongoing appointments, and if the condition of the tumor changes, the option of switching to more aggressive treatment is revisited.
First study to look at long-term outcomes
The researchers found that men on AS experienced better prostate-related health than men who underwent radical prostatectomy and radiotherapy, such as:
- Better urinary function
- Less urinary incontinence
- Better sexual function
Those test patients on AS had significantly higher quality of life scores than those who had undergone surgery. The study also found the quality of life for men on AS was similar to the study group of men who did not have prostate cancer.
Choosing your treatment
We encourage our patients to think about the potential side effects related to immediate treatment. And when considering AS, we discuss whether living with untreated cancer and continued follow-up exams would cause too much stress. We work with each individual to balance the advantages and disadvantages for both methods and come up with a treatment plan that works best.
An interesting study, with more to follow
These results support the opinion of many medical experts, as well as patients, that AS is not only safe, but also a responsible treatment choice for management of low risk prostate cancer. Further studies will tell us more, but in the mean time, talk to your doctor. Call for an appointment today: 972-403-5425.
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