For low-risk prostate cancer, he chose ‘active surveillance’

March 6, 2014 | by

When Ralph Richardson discovered that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) reading was a 6, he told his primary care physician that he wanted to go to City of Hope. “I felt I was better off in a City of Hope environment, where it’s a cancer treatment specialty hospital. This is what they do,” Richardson said.

At City of Hope, Richardson met with Jonathan Yamzon, M.D., clinical professor in the Prostate Cancer Program. “After Ralph's biopsy revealed prostate cancer, we discussed the parameters used to stratify his risk of disease progression, and he fell into the 'low-risk' category. With that, we discussed his options, including treatment with robotic-assisted surgery or radiation therapy, versus active surveillance. Since his cancer risk was low, I recommended active surveillance as the most appropriate treatment,” Yamzon said.

Active surveillance, sometimes referred to as "watchful waiting,"  entails recurrent monitoring of the cancer, through PSA tests, physical examinations and repeat biopsies, with the possibility of offering curative definite therapy in the event the cancer appears to get worse.

Richardson chose active surveillance. He has been on this treatment plan for almost two years. “I am real pleased with the approach, as opposed to surgery or radiation,” he said. “I won’t mind coming here every three months, that’s for sure, as long as it's all I have to do.”

Listen (and watch) Richardson's story above.

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Our Approach

For men with low-grade tumors, City of Hope specialists may recommend active surveillance. Our specialists will determine the best course of treatment balanced with each man’s vision of a quality life beyond diagnosis. Many prostate cancers do not require immediate treatment because they are small, confined and slow-growing. Aggressive treatment may be more disruptive to a man’s quality of life than active surveillance, which closely monitors patients to detect early signs of disease progression and enables treatment before the cancer has spread beyond the prostate.

From diagnosis and treatment to recovery, prostate cancer patients at City of Hope have access to all of the best tools and strategies for beating the disease. Learn more about prostate cancer treatments at City of Hope. To make an appointment, call 800-826-HOPE (4673).