Dangers of Watching & Waiting: Why Early Prostate Cancer Treatment is Best

by | Jul 5, 2022 | Best Prostate Cancer Treatment, CyberKnife For Prostate Cancer, CyberKnife Treats Prostate Cancer, Prostate Cancer

You are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It’s believed to be slow-growing, localized, small, not causing symptoms and in general low-risk to some degree.  

Your doctor says you can take a “watchful waiting” approach. That means you would opt not to treat the cancer, but instead to observe your body for any symptoms like difficulty urinating or emptying your bladder. If a change is noted, you’d tell your doctor.

You could also take a slightly more aggressive approach called “active surveillance,” meaning you undergo routine testing like biopsies, imaging tests, prostate-specific antigen or PSA blood tests, and digital rectal exams to track the cancer’s growth.

The benefits of the wait-and-see approach may help a man whose health is otherwise compromised avoid side effects or complications from any treatment.

Are These Really the Best Approaches for You?

According to the American Cancer Society, a few studies have compared watchful waiting with surgery for early-stage prostate cancer. Some showed men who had surgery lived longer. Others found that survival between the two groups was equivalent.

When comparing active surveillance to treatment with radiation, men who have treatment may not necessarily live longer, but the cancer doesn’t spread, and it may even stay in remission longer.

Keep in mind figuring out what patients really fall in the low-risk category is challenging.  According to one blog, some studies highlight this point. For instance, an African-American man may be initially placed in the low-risk category after a biopsy.  But when he opts for surgery, further tests show the cancer was more aggressive than the biopsy had shown.

That could mean that the wait-and-see approaches could be downright dangerous for some men.

Early Prostate Cancer Treatment

With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, according to cancer,net. Sixty percent of cases are diagnosed in men older than 65.

About 84% of prostate cancers are found in the early stage when the cancer is localized in the prostate. The five-year survival rate for these prostate cancers is close to 100%. As the cancer spreads to other parts of the body the five-year survival rate drops to 31%. “Getting the right facts and finding the right treatment for you is one of the key factors to beating the disease,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, board certified radiation oncologist and medical director at the CyberKnife Center of Miami 

We treat prostate cancer patients on a regular basis using a form of radiation called stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT, which according to the experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami is an alternative to traditional radiation.  It can treat prostate cancers with precision leaving the surrounding healthy tissue virtually unharmed. “Don’t let the cancer fool you. It doesn’t always follow the trajectory you expect. That’s why treatment, even for some men placed in the low-risk category may be the difference between life and death,” Dr. Pomper says.

How the CyberKnife Works

It’s called CyberKnife because it works like a knife, cutting out the cancer, but it’s not a knife at all. It treats prostate cancer with targeted radiation, while reducing the risk of unwanted side effects of traditional radiation treatments because it’s so accurate.

The side effects of traditional treatments can be life-changing, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. They can interfere with urinary, bowel and sexual function.  

With CyberKnife because of its precision, there are minimal side effects, which may include tiredness, and urinary and rectal irritation. Over the counter medications can help minimize these, and they usually go away in a few days or weeks.  

There is also a lower risk of toxicity than with traditional radiation.  

The radiation from CyberKnife focuses directly on the prostate.  As a result, there is less risk of burning the rectum, bladder or testicles.  There is also a reduced risk of impotence and urinary incontinence. And sexual function remains the same for most patients after treatment. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment Near Me

Most patients tolerate CyberKnife treatment very well, and cure rates are at 98%. 

Worldwide hundreds of thousands of patients have been treated for prostate cancer using CyberKnife technology.

If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information.