August 4, 2017 – Watching Carefully


Anchor lead: What is the best strategy for managing men with low risk prostate cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The majority of men with low risk prostate cancer really do not benefit from having their prostate gland removed, but may suffer harms such as sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence as a result. That’s according to a recent study with 19 years of follow up. Ballantine Carter, a prostate cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says men should be offered active surveillance.

Carter: Surveillance required careful monitoring, usually prostate biopsies are done every two to five years. When we started our program here we were doing biopsies annually because we really didn’t understand the natural history of prostate cancer. Now we know a lot more about it and biopsies don’t need to be done as often and the follow up often involves PSAs, usually every three to six months, and a rectal exam at least annually. So it’s not a real intensive monitoring but people do need to be monitoring carefully.  :32

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.