FOX 47 - Health News

Tuesday, December 20 2011, 09:43 PM CST

WASHINGTON (WMSN) -- Each year, nearly a quarter of a million men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In most cases, what the men have is an early form of prostate cancer that is low risk.  But many men choose to undergo immediate treatment like surgery or radiation, risking serious and long-lasting side effects, such as impotence or incontinence.

A government panel says men should hold off on that immediate treatment.

The panel wants more of the men to be offered the option of delaying treatment in favor of what's called "active surveillance."  It's much more aggressive than watchful waiting -- men get regular scans, blood tests and biopsies to check the tumor.  Active surveillance is designed to monitor men closely enough that they can get treatment quickly if it looks like they'll need it, well before any symptoms would begin.

Opting to track, not treat, early prostate cancer

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