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Chicago Tribune profiles active surveillance for prostate cancer

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We just don’t see many stories that profile someone who declines aggressive treatment for prostate cancer and chooses watchful waiting – or active surveillance – instead.

But that’s what Judith Graham of the Chicago Tribune delivered yesterday, explaining that:

“…for the first time it’s being endorsed for large numbers of men by a major medical organization: the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of 21 leading cancer centers across the U.S.

In new guidelines, NCCN recommends active surveillance for men deemed to have “very low risk” prostate cancer and a life expectancy of less than 20 years. Also, the organization recommends the strategy if a man’s prostate cancer is considered “low risk” and his life expectancy is less than 10 years.”

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Cheryl Scott-Sprouse

March 31, 2010 at 8:26 am

Just wanted to correct one misconception that “watchful waiting” & “active surveillance” are the same. They are not! My husband is on “active surveillance” for the “simple” reason that whether one goes through the radical treatments or they choose to be on “active surveillance,” the difference in life expectancy is only 0.5% longer. And the quality of life is the big difference. My husband has his PSA taken twice a month for the simple reason of providing as much information to the physician as possible so they can more accurately track his progression. They monitor his cholesterol and blood pressure as well as the condition of his kidneys & liver because of the meds he has to take. He has also changed his diet to exclude red meats since they are harder to digest, all “white” products, as little sugar intake as possible, no fried foods, no processed foods, nutritional supplementation with care as there are even whole food supplements that will “feed” the cancer, etc.
With watchful waiting, there doesn’t seem to be the intense tracking that he has with the “active surveillance.”
He also walks three miles a day, weather permitting, alleviates as much BS stress as he can, and he tries to enjoy each day to the fullest. Not always easy when he has to jump through so many hoops in order to receive care from “qualified & knowledgeable” physicians. Fortunately, he has one of the best that Chapel Hill, NC has to offer.
Thank you for listening.
Sincerely,
Cheryl Scott-Sprouse