Active surveillance is an approach to monitoring prostate cancer considered low risk for spread (clinically insignificant) and delaying treatment unless changes are noted that would indicate that the tumor is more aggressive requiring treatment. This approach attempts to avoid surgical or radiation treatment when considered unnecessary, however, identify those cancers which demonstrate characteristics that pose a risk to the patient, considered life threatening and curable because of early detection.
The goal is to provide patients with better quality of life (avoiding side effects of prostate cancer treatment) yet maintain the ability to cure the cancer if considered necessary. With our active surveillance program, we attempt to avoid overtreatment in many patients at low risk for spread. We attempt to cure those patients when treatment is considered necessary. Thirty five to forty percent of patients on an Active Surveillance program will eventually require treatment.
Active surveillance protocols remain experimental and have not been conclusively validated and patients enrolling in our active surveillance program need to comply with their urologists recommendation for close supervision and treatment when considered necessary. There is always the risk, even though small, that the prostate cancer may spread before curative treatment is administered.