Active Surveillance

Active surveillance is a new treatment for treating early-stage prostate cancer in younger men. Younger men tend to choose this treatment plan because they want to avoid surgery and the complications of radiation treatment. Complications such as impotence and incontinence tend to affect younger men to a much greater degree than men in their 60’s or 70’s.
In this treatment plan, the cancer is left alone but monitored to make sure it’s not growing. The National Institute of Health and the American Society of Clinical Oncology both approve of this treatment for men with small and low-risk tumors.
When men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, the cancer cells are rated on a scoring system known as the Gleason. This scale starts ratings at a 2, and the highest rating is a 10. A score of 6 on this magnitude is the lowest score that indicates the cells are cancerous. However, the Gleason scale is somewhat confusing and is being replaced with a new system that has been endorsed by the World Health Organization.
Even though the active surveillance treatment is being recommended for men 50 or younger with low-risk cancers, these patients need to be monitored with biopsies and the PSA test. The PSA test checks for protein levels that are linked to prostate cancers. However, when patients choose this treatment plan, they are taking a gamble. There is always the possibility that this cancer can get worse and not be caught in time for treatment.