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Cancer

An option for low-risk prostate cancer

March 1, 2013

For some men, the smartest move after diagnosis may be to delay treatment and carefully watch the progression of the cancer.

After a prostate biopsy confirms cancer, the next step might seem obvious: get treatment as soon as possible, either by removing the prostate gland entirely (radical prostatectomy) or zapping it with radiation. But immediate treatment is not the only option or necessarily the best one. Treatment itself can cause more harm in the long run than the cancer. 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. Then the cancer can still be treated effectively. The approach is called active surveillance with delayed intention to treat.

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