Prostate cancer can grow very slowly. In some men, it can grow so slowly they may never need treatment. But doctors still want to keep an eye on the cancer so they can take action if it gets worse. This approach is known as active surveillance or watchful waiting.
Your doctor may have suggested these options instead of other treatment for a few reasons:
Other health conditions you have, such as heart disease, diabetes, or long-lasting high blood pressure
Risks and side effects...
Bladder obstruction - Not urinating or urinating very little despite drinking enough fluid; producing little urine despite straining; pain due to a full bladder
Acute kidney failure - Not urinating or urinating little, with little discomfort, despite drinking enough fluid
Deep bone pain, especially in the back, hips, or thighs, or bone fracture - Possible sign of advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones
Spinal cord compression is a true emergency and may be the first sign of cancer. It occurs when the cancer has spread to vertebrae of the spine and tailbone region. The weakened vertebrae can collapse on the spinal cord, causing symptoms and problems with function.
Symptoms depend on the level at which the spine is compressed. Typical symptoms that might signal acute spinal cord compression include:
Increased difficulty urinating or moving your bowels
Difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels
Decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the groin or legs.
These symptoms are often preceded by pain in the hip (usually one sided) or back lasting a few days or weeks. Such symptoms require immediate evaluation in the nearest hospital emergency department. Failure to be treated immediately can result in permanent spinal cord damage.
Author: Hardik C Soni, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King Jr/Charles Drew Medical Center.
Coauthor(s): Eugene Hardin, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King, Jr/Drew Medical Center.
Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Jerry Balentine, DO, Professor of Emergency Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine; Medical Director, Saint Barnabas Hospital.