Active Surveillance

Active surveillance does not actively treat prostate cancer.  It includes active monitoring of disease for patients with very low or low-risk prostate cancer. Regular monitoring occurs every 6 to 12 months and often includes imaging, repeat biopsies, or genomic testing.  With active surveillance, your doctor will know very quickly if the cancer grows and if this happens, he/she will suggest next steps for you.

Who is eligible?

Patients with small, localized, slow-growing prostate cancer that generally does not cause any symptoms


  • No surgery or hospitalization involved
  • Imaging technology offers more accurate monitoring capabilities
  • No sexual, urinary, or bowel side effects like other treatments have.
  • Keep their quality of life longer without sexual, urinary, or bowel side effects without risking the success of treatment.


  • Potential for repeat biopsies
  • Potential for cancer to spread
  • Frequent follow-ups with doctors for blood, rectal, and other tests
  • Potential for treatment if cancer begins to grow
  • Potential anxiety, worry, or other psychological stress

Source: Urology Care Foundation and Cancer Treatment Centers of America

This tool provides consensus recommendations regarding the appropriateness of active surveillance based on findings from the MUSIC Active Surveillance Appropriateness Panel for men with favorable risk prostate cancer.

Citation: Cher ML, Dhir A, Auffenberg GB, et al: Appropriateness Criteria for Active Surveillance of Prostate Cancer. J Urol 197:67-74