Harvard Men's Health Watch

An option for low-risk prostate cancer

After prostate cancer diagnosis, many men choose immediate treatment with surgery or radiation. But immediate treatment is not the only option. Some men with early low-risk prostate cancers can choose to hold off on the decision to treat until the disease presents a greater threat. At that later date, the cancer can still be treated effectively. The approach is called active surveillance with delayed intention to treat. Bothersome and potentially permanent side effects of treatment include erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. By choosing active surveillance, some men can avoid the risks of treating a cancer that may be unlikely to cause them serious harm within their lifespan.
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