What Does Active Surveillance Mean for Prostate Cancer

What Does Active Surveillance Mean for Prostate Cancer?

What Does Active Surveillance Mean for Prostate Cancer? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Prostate cancer care may include active surveillance, but what does it mean exactly? Expert Dr. Tanya Dorff explains this approach and how it is used to monitor patients with prostate cancer.

Dr. Tanya Dorff is Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope. Learn more about Dr. Dorff.


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Dr. Dorff:

Active surveillance is different than what some people think it is. So, some people think it means we’re not going to treat the cancer, that we’re just going to let it take its natural course. It’s actually quite active, as the name implies. We’re really trying to get to know a person’s cancer and understand whether it is a cancer that will ultimately need to be treated, in which case we will intervene with definitive treatment, whether that be radiation or surgery, but the goal is to find those patients whose cancer is not very aggressive and may never need to be treated so that they can avoid the possible risks that come from definitive local therapy. 


So it’s more like a watch-and-wait situation? 

Dr. Dorff:

But it’s…I, again, view it as a little bit different than that. Watch and wait is “let’s just let it do what it’s going to do.” Active surveillance is what I call a getting-to-know-you period. Let’s understand whether these clinical features that have signaled that your cancer may be low-risk, may not need treatment – let’s see if that really plays out, let’s make sure we haven’t missed anything, and if your cancer needs treatment, we’re going to treat it.