The usage of Active Surveillance or “watchful waiting” has been increasing in frequency over the past few years as an alternative to treatment. Men with a low grade Gleason score (6 or under), low PSA and stage, and a small volume (small amount of cancer found during biopsy), may opt to hold off on treatment to avoid the potential sexual and urinary side effects of radiation or surgery.
If your doctor or treatment team has suggested Active Surveillance, there are a few questions that you should ask.
- How does Active Surveillance work?
- What is my current Gleason Score? My PSA?
- DO I need a second opinion on my biopsy?
- How often must I be re-checked for examination, rebiopsy, and PSA blood testing?
- Is there a specific score at which we would re-evaluate my need for treatment?
- Are there any symptoms that would signal a need to return for a re-check sooner?
- What dietary or nutrition changes should I make while on active surveillance?
- What is the ideal exercise program while I am on active surveillance?
- Is it possible that my cancer will go away?
It’s very important to keep an open line of communication with your doctor and to understand your cancer and treatment decisions fully.