Purpose of review
Treatment decisions for low-risk prostate cancer are arguably some of the most challenging in oncology. Active surveillance has emerged as an important option for many men with tumors estimated to have a low metastatic potential. Multiple complex patient and physician factors affect the recommendation, selection, and adherence to active surveillance. While baseline clinical criteria are used to identify candidates for this approach, it is important to identify and understand other forces that may influence the management of prostate cancer with active surveillance.
Patient perceptions and acceptance of active surveillance have improved over time. Treatment decisions for prostate cancer are strongly associated with physician recommendations, and a high-quality relationship between the patient and his healthcare system is critical to successful active surveillance. Patient understanding of prostate cancer and consistency of information received from separate physicians can affect a decision to pursue active surveillance. Psychological symptoms, most notably regarding anxiety and distress, can affect adherence to active surveillance over time. In general, anxiety for men on active surveillance is low, and lifestyle interventions and self-management strategies may be helpful for increasing quality of life and limiting abandonment of active surveillance in the absence of disease progression.
Multiple factors may affect the decision for and adherence to active surveillance for prostate cancer. It is important for both physicians and patients to be aware of these issues and work towards individualized approaches and interventions as needed to increase adoption of active surveillance in the future.