What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During active surveillance, you'll have regular visits with your doctor to monitor the cancer, usually every three to six months. At these visits, your doctor may perform the following tests or procedures:

  • Digital rectal exam. During a digital rectal exam, your doctor manually examines your prostate gland by gently inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum. Your doctor can feel the surface of the prostate and assess if the cancer has grown.
  • PSA blood test. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. If your PSA rises, it may indicate cancer growth.
  • Ultrasound. If other tests raise concerns, your doctor may use transrectal ultrasound to further evaluate your prostate. A small probe, about the size and shape of a cigar, is inserted into your rectum. The probe uses sound waves to create an image of your prostate gland.
  • Collection of prostate cells (prostate biopsy). Collecting samples of cells from within your prostate is usually recommended one year after active surveillance begins, and then occasionally, as your doctor recommends, to determine how much the cancer has grown and to re-evaluate your Gleason score to see if the cancer remains slow growing.
Feb. 09, 2011