Active surveillance

Active surveillance is also called active monitoring.

Doctors will sometimes recommend that you don't need treatment at all, even though you do have prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. This is likely to be because your cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. is small, slow-growing and not aggressive. These types of cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. do not usually cause noticeable problems. The side-effects of any treatments are likely to be worse than the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. at its current stage.

Recommended if you:

  • Have low-risk, localised prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.
  • Are fit enough for active treatment if needed.

The aim of active surveillance is to monitor the cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. rather than treat it. You will have regular check-ups with your doctor that may include:

  • PSA tests
  • DREDigital rectal examination, physical examination that involves inserting a finger into the patient’s rectum, their back passage. and/or MRIAn abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging, a technique for imaging the body that uses electromagnetic waves and a strong magnetic field. scans
  • Repeat biopsies at intervals agreed with your doctor.

It is possible that your prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. will develop to a point where it needs treatment. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

Advantages of active surveillance

  • Suits men with existing health conditions for whom invasive treatment could pose further problems
  • Allows time to consider all options if unsure whether or not to have treatment
  • Unnecessary treatment and possible side effects are avoided.

Disadvantages

  • You might feel that nothing is being done
  • The cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. could grow to a more advanced stage or spread, but this risk is minimised with active surveillance
  • You may have to stay in hospital if you have a biopsyThe removal of a small sample of cells or tissue so that it may be examined under a microscope. The term may also refer to the tissue sample itself..