'Active Surveillance' of Prostate Cancer Doesn't Dampen Quality of Life
Choosing no treatment and regular check-ups didn't seem to stress men with low-risk disease, study found
THURSDAY, July 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Men with low-risk prostate cancer report a good quality of life after choosing active surveillance as a treatment for their disease, a new study finds.
Active surveillance for prostate cancer means a man chooses not to have surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, but instead follows a regular schedule of tests and exams to make sure the cancer isn't growing rapidly, the U.S. National Cancer Institute says.
The new study included 89 American men with low-risk prostate cancer and 420 men without the disease.
Over three years of follow-up, there were no significant differences between the two groups in health-related quality of life, according to the findings published in the Journal of Urology.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of health-related quality-of-life outcomes of men on active surveillance for prostate cancer compared to men without prostate cancer in a prospective, multi-institutional study," lead investigator Dr. Christopher Porter said in a journal news release. He's from Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
"Our results suggest that for at least three years, men selecting active surveillance do not experience a substantial psychological burden or clinically significant problems due to untreated disease," he added.
Most men with prostate cancer have low-risk disease and must make the difficult decision between having their cancer monitored or receiving treatment. But treatments carry the risk of side effects, such as urinary, bowel and sexual dysfunction, the study authors noted.
"The potential clinical impact of these results is significant and will allow clinicians to counsel patients effectively in regard to the potential health-related quality-of-life outcomes associated with active surveillance," Porter said.
The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer.