You have heard of active surveillance and watchful waiting, terms used for approaches to follow early stage and intermediate stage PCa rather than rushing in with aggressive, potentially risky and life-changing therapies such as radical surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Doctors still debate the value of these terms and others, such as monitoring, observation, and expectant management, says the American Cancer Society. Whatever you call it, two-thirds of men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer will never need aggressive therapies. They can live with their cancer and will die from another cause. The problem is that doctors can’t predict precisely who needs definitive treatment and who doesn’t. Hence, the need for patients to be followed with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, digital rectal exams, multi-parameter MRI scans and biopsies.
Why does ASPI support the concept of the ProActive Patient? “Proactive” means you make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen to you. Active means doing something. The prefix pro means before. We are active surveillance patients and also proactive patients. We and our life partners are deeply involved in our care. We discuss everything with our family doctors, oncologists, and urologists. We consult with dietitians and urologic naturopaths, discussing how the right food and dietary supplements can improve not only our prostate health but our health overall. We consult with exercise physiologists and alternative healers. We search for an answer to control our disease. We also discuss what proactive patients do when surveillance is no longer possible because their disease is becoming more aggressive and may be spreading to other organs.
We urge you and your partner to join us at our 2020 conference to share your experiences and hear about ours as proactive patients. We will present panes with patients and other health professionals. We will get to know each other and form new networks as we develop this new concept of proactive patients. We are preparing for the paradigm shift and sea change in active surveillance that is starting to take hold now. Our active surveillance patients international organization will be on the forefront of this change.