What are the risks from active surveillance?

What are the risks from active surveillance?

Oncologist Mark Scholz Transcript

Title: What are the risks from active surveillance?

The risks of active surveillance are first and foremost I think that you might have an inferior quality of life. People who have surgery or radiation and don’t get all the side effects can put this disease behind them and move on and not think about prostate cancer. Whereas men on active surveillance they’re still in the mix constantly… they’re seeing their doctor, getting PSA testing, and the anxiety that that may engender is probably is probably the risk associated with active surveillance.

The risks I just described are a far smaller burden than the risks of having surgery or radiation. Even if you have surgery or radiation you still have some uncertainty as to whether you’re cured or not, of course. It’s not completely a get out of jail free card. The risk that you pointed out which is what on everyone’s mind is well what’s the chance that the cancer will grow or escape where I could lose a chance for being cured whereas if I treated the disease immediately I would have a good chance for being cured. And in the studies that have been done in that regard suggest that the chances of that happening are quite small.

Closing Title: Consider all risks carefully before making a choice

Oncologist Mark Scholz discusses the risks or concerns that arise when men follow a regimen of active surveillance.
Oncologist Mark Scholz

Dr. Scholz is a board-certified medical oncologist and serves as Executive Director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to patient education and research. The PCRI website (pcri.org) provides a wealth of information for prostate cancer patients. In addition, PCRI serves the needs of patients and significant others with a help-line staff that provides free, informational consultations.

Dr. Scholz is the co-author with patient Ralph Blum of the book Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment or Loss of Potency. Prostatesnatchers.blogspot.com provides regular blog postings from Mark and Ralph.  Mark has advised many patients navigating a regimen of active surveillance along with men following all of the other prostate cancer interventions and courses of treatment.
Video reviewed and approved by Dr. Scholz, August 1, 2015