Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Treat or wait?

Editor in Chief Marc B. Garnick, M.D., discusses issues and controversies about early-stage prostate cancer

Thanks to more widespread prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, today nine out of 10 men diagnosed with prostate cancer have tumors that are detected at the earliest stage, when they are still confined to the prostate gland and are so small they can be detected only through a biopsy.

Maybe you are one of these men. If so, it is likely that you are feeling overwhelmed by your diagnosis and all the treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer, and are wondering what to do next. You may even be feeling as though your life depends on making a treatment decision as quickly as possible. So it may surprise you to know that one respectable study indicates that you can take up to one year to evaluate the options before choosing a treatment, and it will not affect your long-term likelihood of remaining cancer-free (see "Time to decide").

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