Patients who wish to pursue watchful
waiting usually have these characteristics:
- Low PSA veloctiy
- Low Gleason scores
- Nonpalpable tumor during DRE
- No genetic predisposition for
- Uncharacteristically young,
or much older and wishing to avoid side effects that
come with more aggressive treatments
Watchful waiting is not for everyone.
Read on to see who is opting for watchful waiting and
why. Patients should speak with a doctor about whether
watchful waiting can benefit them.
Watchful Waiting as First
Line Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer, specifically prostatic adenocarcinoma,
usually grows very slowly. Early stages of tumors may
actually grow so slowly or be so small that beginning
an aggressive treatment would do a patient more harm
Watchful waiting as a prostate cancer
treatment may be recommended for those with very low
Gleason scores or low PSA velocities. Some patients
with small low grade tumors may wish to use watchful
waiting and postpone more aggressive treatments. Some
patients feel that watchful waiting increases the quality
of a patient’s life by avoiding the side effects
associated with all other forms of prostate cancer treatments.
Many men die with prostate cancer
as opposed to dying from prostate cancer. Autopsies
of men who died of natural causes indicate the presence
of prostate cancer that these men never knew they had.
Watchful waiting can be a valuable therapy as both a
primary and salvage treatment.
Watchful waiting is not a euphemism
for doing nothing. This prostate cancer treatment benefits
those patients who feel that enjoy day to day life without
suffering from extreme fear or worry. Regular visits
to a doctor every 3 to 6 months for both prostate-specific
antigen tests (PSA tests) and digital rectal exams (DRE’s)
in most cases will keep the prostate cancer in check.
When the prostate tumor grows larger, patients and doctors
can discuss more aggressive treatment options.
Patients who have recurrent prostate cancer can also
choose watchful waiting as their salvage therapy. Patients
who chose watchful waiting as a salvage tend to be older
or have other serious health complications. Watchful
waiting can help patients make an informed decision
about when to pursue more aggressive treatment and prolong
the quality of life for those who wish to avoid side
effects, or unpleasantness associated with treatments.