Treatment Options for Localized Prostate Cancer

In this situation you are looking at Stage I or II based on the Gleason Score. In this particular scenario, you are looking at three different choices of treatment for treatment that can result in long term survival.

One is called Watchful Waiting; one is Surgery; and finally Radiation. Lets explore each of these options further.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful Waiting is the term coined by the medical community to describe an approach for managing cancer that has not yet moved beyond the prostate gland. This approach is also known as “observation” or “surveillance.”

Because cancer in this stage advances very slowly there is the possibility that it will not cause any lifetime problems. This is especially true of older men. Men who opt for this approach do not participate in any active treatment without cause. They visit their physicians for monitoring but unless a problem arises they have no other treatment.

If there are no indications of infection, kidney or bladder damage this can be a reasonable approach. Other obvious advantages to this approach are sparing the man pain and potential side effects related to surgery or radiation.

The down side of this approach is the risk of decreasing control of the disease before it spreads. Another minus factor is postponing treatment until a man is more at risk from the side effects and the difficulty of dealing with the treatment itself. Some men also find that dealing with the stress of having cancer and doing “nothing” about it can cause panic and anxiety.

Watchful Waiting is more viable for older men who have tumors that are very small and growing very slowly as mentioned above in the low-grade Gleason Score.

Some men who opt for this approach have been known to live for years with no outward signs of disease and in several studies for as long as 10 or 15 years, there is no significant difference in life expectancy than those men who were treated with surgery or radiation.