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Delaying Treatment After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis: Is It Safe?

Waiting for test results can be unnerving because you don’t know what to expect. After a prostate biopsy, you may find yourself looking for more information and you will find out about many treatment options in the event you do have cancer. Patients that are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer are more likely to choose Active Surveillance over other seemingly intense treatment methods. There have been cases of patients that went with treatment instead and they ended up being over-treated, leading to sexual and urinary issues.

Over-treatment and dealing with the side effects of treatment is what many patients avoid. This, however, doesn’t argue the case for delayed treatment. Here is why:

  • A study said that it is okay for those diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer to wait about a year after biopsy and wait for restaging. 45 percent of these subjects were later on found to have a higher grade, stage or with lymph node involvement when going for surgery. 16,818 had surgery within six months of diagnosis, 894 at between six and nine months, 169 at between nine and 12 months and 62 had it after more than 12 months.
  • Another study showed that a 90-day delay between biopsy and prostatectomy increased the chance of biochemical recurrence. These figures show that it may not be safe after all to use Active Surveillance.
  • It is possible that the initial tests missed the cancer for these results to be this high. Improving this scenario would then require more precise diagnosis at the beginning using multiparametric MRI. Monitoring of possible tumor growth or progression throughout the waiting period is essential too.

If there is a need for treatment, choosing the safest option that will not damage any sexual or urinary function is paramount. This essentially veers away from over-treatment while still handling the cancer.