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PROSTATE CANCER OPTION: WATCHFUL WAITING (ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE)
“Watchful waiting” refers to a choice of postponing immediate treatment for prostate cancer. During the watchful waiting period, the physician keeps the cancer under close watch. This is also referred to as “active surveillance”.
The logic behind watchful waiting is simple: prostate cancer often develops very slowly. With watchful waiting, the patient takes the time to consider possible treatment options. During this period, however, patients require regular exams, checks of PSA blood test, and periodic prostate biopsies to ensure that the cancer is not progressing.
Many factors motivate men to choose watchful waiting. These include the intrusiveness of many available treatments, the potential side effects, and in some cases limited long-term success data.
Today, though, more men are choosing treatment rather than life with cancer because of the availability of minimally invasive options, corresponding long-term data demonstrating effectiveness, and fewer side effects.
There is a minimally invasive option with fewer side effects than surgery and radiation
Cryotherapy is an effective, minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer, with very low rates of urinary incontinence compared to the surgical removal of the prostate and radiation. Click here for more information.
Cryotherapy is typically performed on an outpatient basis (the patient usually can leave the hospital on the same day as the procedure) and typically only requires one treatment.
Cryotherapy is covered by Medicare in all 50 states and most private insurance companies.
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