When you seek cancer treatment at Sentara, you are actually tapping into a comprehensive network of cancer care. Within the network, you’ll find the innovative technologies and benefit from highly-skilled physicians and clinical care teams who are committed to your comfort and recovery.
Prostate cancer treatment options depend on a number of factors, such as how fast the cancer is growing, how far it has spread, a patient’s overall health, the patient’s age, as well as the benefits and potential side effects of treatment.
Because prostate cancer is usually slow growing, men who are diagnosed when their cancer is in its earliest stages might not need treatment at all. Instead, doctors sometimes recommend what’s called watchful waiting or active surveillance. If a patient chooses watchful waiting they will usually undergo regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and possibly biopsies to monitor the progression of the cancer.
Watchful waiting may be an option for cancer that isn't causing symptoms, is expected to grow very slowly and is confined to a small area of the prostate. Watchful waiting may also be considered for a man who has another serious health condition or is of an advanced age that makes cancer treatment more difficult.
A patient may wish to consider watchful waiting over treatments that are likely to cause major side effects. Alternatively, if the patient is younger and otherwise healthy, he might be more willing to tolerate the side effects of treatment if they offer the best chance for cure.