A new benchmark study has revealed that, when it comes to patients diagnosed with low and moderate-risk prostate tumors, there may be benefits of active surveillance and how it may be a viable option for treatment.
Dialing Back Approaches to Lower-Grade Prostate Cancers
Historically, treatment approaches for low and medium-grade prostate cancer have been relatively indistinguishable from how we treat more aggressive forms of the disease. Surgery to remove the prostate completely, known as the radical prostatectomy, has always been the most successful option for aggressive cancers, but what is a good option for lower grade or early stage prostate cancers?
A major landmark study has revealed that active surveillance, also known as watchful waiting, can be a benchmark approach to cases of lower-risk prostate cancer.
The Benefits of Watchful Waiting
The new survey, which included data from more than 164,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2010 through 2015, detailed how approaches to cancer treatment have changed over that period of time. The results were clear; while high-risk prostate cancer patients saw little change in the number of men that underwent prostatectomies, men with less aggressive or early forms of prostate cancer were going under the knife much less often. Instead, these men were relying on active surveillance to keep an eye on the status of their prostate health.
Researchers say that watchful waiting is an excellent approach for many men with lower-grade prostate cancer, as these patients often don’t encounter dangerous levels of tumor growth. In fact, lower-grade prostate cancers are much less likely to lead to negative outcomes, often not necessitating the need to have these patients undergo treatments that can lead to unpleasant and distressing side effects such as those associated with radiation treatment.
Better Quality of Life
In the end, because active surveillance can now keep such a close eye on prostate health issues, close monitoring of a patient’s low-risk prostate cancer has become a viable treatment option that provides a better quality of life to many men.
While more aggressive types of prostate cancer often require more aggressive treatment options like a radical prostatectomy, knowing that there are effective conservative treatments for low-grade instances of prostate cancer is often comforting to those who receive a diagnosis.