NICE has today (8 January 2014) released an updated set of guidelines to aid clinicians in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer. Among a series of recommendations, the regulator suggests that active surveillance should be considered as an option for men with localised prostate cancer.
Drew Lindon, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK said:
"The brutal truth is that prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment lag behind where they should be, especially compared to conditions such as breast cancer. Not only are there too few treatment options but those which do exist often leave men facing side effects like erectile dysfunction. Where a cancer isn’t aggressive many men may in fact be better off working with their doctor to keep a close eye on the condition rather than undergoing treatments. It’s good to see NICE setting out a guide to help clinicians talk through all the options that men have available to them, while still preserving treatment as an option.
Unfortunately, it is still not possible to say with certainty whether a man has an aggressive form of the cancer, or one which will not cause harm in their lifetime. This leaves many men faced with difficult decisions about which route to take. Although today’s announcement marks a widening of the options for men, we urgently need more research to develop a better standard of test. For this reason it is one of the key pillars of our research strategy."