Active surveillance for localized prostate cancer: the state of the science

So the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “state of the science” conference on the role of active surveillance in the management of men with localized prostate cancer starts this morning here at the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.

The panel is charged with delivering answers to five specific questions:

  • How has the patient population and the national history of prostate cancer diagnosed in the United States changed in the last 30 years?
  • How are active surveillance and other observational strategies defined?
  • What factors affect the offer of, acceptance of, and adherence to active surveillance?
  • What are the patient-experienced comparative short- and long-term health outcomes of active surveillance versus immediate treatment with curative intent for localized prostate cancer?
  • What are the research needs regarding active surveillance (or watchful waiting) in localized prostate cancer?

It would be wonderful to think that we could all walk away from this meeting with a real plan to batter apply the principles of active surveillance both clinically, on a day-to-day basis, for practicing physicians and also in terms of applied research to  refine clinical practice over time.

The realities may turn out to be slightly different, and we will have to wait until Wednesday to discover what the meeting panel actually comes up with as final recommendations. However complete information about the meeting (including all meeting presentation abstracts and the names of the panel members) is now available on line.

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