Watching And Waiting And Prostate Cancer – All You Ought To Know

July 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

There are different forms and manifestations of prostate cancer some being so aggressive that they can start and end the life of a patient within only a couple of years. However, most prostate type of cancers are slow growing and slow progressing carcinomas that in some cases may be so slow that the patient can be expected to live out the rest of his life without treatment because the symptoms of the disorder may never appear before something else takes him away.

The treatment of prostate cancer generally depends on the stage of the cancer and on the age of the patient. A man who is diagnosed with early stage prostate malignant tumor at a time when he is already over seventy may be treated to active surveillance just to see if the cancer will get worse, and then they can treat.

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In other instances, certain cancer specialist physicians may consider that several prostate cancer patients that are within this age group may not be able to deal with the complications that come from treatment.

Such a patient then can forgo surgery or other treatments as long as his condition is regularly monitored: this is watchful waiting, suggested as mentioned earlier when the risks of surgery, radiation therapy, or hormonal therapy outweigh the possible benefits that can be had for the patient.

Sometimes, it might be difficult for a doctor to recommend such treatment for a patient, especially if the patient does not realize what the doctor is trying to offer, or does not understand the complications and implications of the case. Such a person might file a malpractice suit against the doctor, which if he wins, could result in the doctor losing his license. Thus, active treatment may be recommended sometimes unless they are absolutely certain that it is not for the best; thereby watching the patient closely, postponing aggressive therapy unless signs of disease progression were to appear suddenly.

For a fact, there is some risk to watchful waiting. If a cancer is detected early, it can be treated and cured before it has the chance to grow out of the prostate. This window of opportunity may sometimes be so narrow that waiting a couple of weeks before commencing active therapy may see that window narrow further or even close because the cancer has spread to other locations in the body. All of a sudden, someone who would have been cured could suddenly be looking at a tapering lifespan during which he would have to endure palliative care until the cancer or something else eventually takes him. Deciding on such an action (or non action) is therefore a bit of a big deal.

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