Active surveillance for prostate cancer: A tough sell

Physicians view active surveillance for prostate cancer as effective for managing low-risk prostate cancer, but few recommend the strategy, according to results of a national survey presented Oct. 12 at the North Central American Urological Association Meeting.

Simon P. Kim, MD, MPH, from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues sought to assess the attitudes and treatment recommendations for low-risk prostate cancer from a national survey of radiation oncologists and urologists.  

The researchers mailed a survey focused on attitudes toward active surveillance and treatment recommendations for low-risk prostate cancer to 1,439 radiation oncologists and urologists in the U.S.

A total of 321 radiation oncologists and 322 urologists completed the survey, according to the abstract. Seventy-seven percent of urologists agreed that active surveillance is effective compared with 67 percent of radiation oncologists. However, 21 percent of physicians endorsed active surveillance. In contrast, 47 percent of physicians recommended radical prostatectomy and 32 percent recommended radiation therapy for these patients.

Kim and colleagues found that radiation oncologists were more likely to recommend radiation therapy, while urologists were more likely to recommend surgery and active surveillance.

"Our results may explain in part the relatively low use of active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer in the U.S.," Kim said in a release.