Active surveillance for prostate cancer

Active surveillance is a way of monitoring prostate cancer that isn’t causing any symptoms or problems. It may be suggested if the cancer is small (low volume) and slow-growing (low grade), and is unlikely to spread or cause symptoms (low risk or, in some cases, intermediate risk). This is indicated by a PSA no higher than 20, stage T1–2, and Grade Group score 1 (Gleason 6 or less). About half of all Australian men with low-risk prostate cancer choose active surveillance.

Typically, active surveillance involves PSA tests every 3–6 months, digital rectal examination every six months, mpMRI scans, and biopsies at 12 months and three years. If the cancer shows signs of faster or more aggressive growth, you can start treatment with the aim of curing the cancer.

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This information was last reviewed in March 2018
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