Health & Spirit

Active surveillance for prostate cancer

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 1980s President Ronald Reagan used an old Russian proverb, "Trust, but verify," when negotiating nuclear disarmament with Mikhail Gorbachev. The resulting Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty established an extensive verification process, which resulted in eliminating 2,692 missiles by 1991 and was followed by 10 years of active surveillance through on-site inspections.

Active surveillance of prostate cancer can produce equally beneficial results. But a shockingly low number of guys who are prescribed a "wait-and-see approach" actually get onsite inspections when they should.

A new study from the University of North Carolina found that only 15% of the 346 men who were tracked after their diagnosis with early-stage prostate cancer made follow-up appointments that adhered to recommended monitoring guidelines. Those guidelines include getting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test every six months, a digital rectal exam annually and repeat biopsies every 18 months following diagnosis.

If you've been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, those follow-up appointments allow your doctor to discover if (and when) the cancer starts to progress. Then you'll know that active surveillance should end, and active -- and very effective -- treatment should begin.

It may make you anxious to get those checkups, but there'll be a lot more anxiety if your cancer is left unchecked. Our suggestion: Make those first two PSA-test appointments immediately upon diagnosis, and get the digital rectal exam at the second one. Then put all future surveillance into your smartphone calendar with a reminder to make appointments or to keep them.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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