Active Surveillance As New Tool for Younger Men with Prostate Cancer
As a treatment method, active surveillance is ideal for men suffering from low-risk prostate cancers that have shown little evidence of growing aggressively. Through routine digital rectal exams and regular blood tests for prostate-specific antigens, or PSAs, active surveillance is a viable alternative to more invasive measures like immediate surgery — especially when combined with periodic biopsies. Active surveillance can also therefore prevent some of the more common, and distressing, side effects of these invasive treatments, one of which is erectile dysfunction.
The research study, which had more than 6,500 participants ranging in age from 41 to 86, was quite clear that men at the younger end of the age spectrum were found to be at lower risk for their cancer worsening while being managed through active monitoring. Rates were significant, ranging from a 13 percent to 17 percent reduction in risk — clearly enough to spell the difference for many patients and rapidly proving the efficacy of active surveillance for men from all walks of life, not just for those who are older.
Evolving on the Age Demographic
Traditionally, active surveillance has been a prostate cancer management method that has seen higher use in older men. Yet the new research study has clearly shown that it’s quite effective in younger men with prostate cancer when it comes to reducing the likelihood of their prostate cancer “upgrading” to a more serious condition.
Yet this new research has revealed just how effective active monitoring can be in younger men with prostate cancer that have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, albeit a “low-risk” cancer. The key here is that there is simply one more reason for younger men to remain proactive about their health as they begin to grow older, with the suggestion being that men should begin thinking about their prostate health as early as age 40 in order to remain aware and vigilant. Early detection — in addition to lifestyle choices like maintaining a healthy weight — is crucial for men’s health.