RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Active surveillance for prostate cancer avoids the side effects that may be associated with other treatment options, such as erectile dysfunction or incontinence. But there are risks associated with active surveillance:
- The cancer can grow and spread while you wait.
- Active surveillance requires regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, and the PSA test isn't infallible. Some cancers spread before PSA levels rise.
- If cancer spreads, you may miss the window of opportunity for effective treatment.
- You may be anxious and have a sense of uncertainty about the status of your cancer.
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) and active surveillance. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ProstateCancer/DetailedGuide/prostate-cancer-treating-watchful-waiting. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Treating prostate cancer: A guide for men with localized prostate cancer. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productID=98. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Snyder CF, et al. How does initial treatment choice affect short-term and long-term costs for clinically localized prostate cancer? Cancer. 2010;116:5391.
- Active surveillance. Prostate Cancer Foundation. http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5813295/k.FA2E/Active_Surveillance.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Coen JJ, et al. Watchful waiting for localized prostate cancer in the PSA era: What have been the triggers for intervention? BJU International. In press. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Early prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/early-prostate. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.