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Do I have to start treatment right away for prostate cancer?

ANSWER

You and your doctor may decide not to treat your prostate cancer. Reasons include:

In such cases, your doctor will likely suggest something called “active surveillance.” This means that he’ll check you often and order tests to see if your cancer is getting worse. If your situation changes, you may decide to start treatment.

  • It’s in an early stage and is growing very slowly.
  • You’re elderly or have other illnesses. Prostate cancer treatment may not prolong your life and may make it harder to care for your other health problems.

From: Myths and Facts About This Disease WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "What Are the Key Statistics About Prostate Cancer?"

American Cancer Society: "What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?"

American Urological Association: "Early Detection of Prostate Cancer: AUA Guideline."

Prostate Cancer Foundation: "Active Surveillance."

CDC: "Prostate Cancer Risk Factors."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "Prostate Cancer Treatment."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: "Screening Guidelines: Prostate Cancer."

Michigan Cancer Consortium: "Managing Symptoms After Prostate Cancer: Sexual Side Effects."

Urology Care Foundation: "Prostate Cancer: Surgical Management."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 18, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "What Are the Key Statistics About Prostate Cancer?"

American Cancer Society: "What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?"

American Urological Association: "Early Detection of Prostate Cancer: AUA Guideline."

Prostate Cancer Foundation: "Active Surveillance."

CDC: "Prostate Cancer Risk Factors."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "Prostate Cancer Treatment."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: "Screening Guidelines: Prostate Cancer."

Michigan Cancer Consortium: "Managing Symptoms After Prostate Cancer: Sexual Side Effects."

Urology Care Foundation: "Prostate Cancer: Surgical Management."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 18, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

Does a high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) score mean I have prostate cancer?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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