Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer found in American men, behind skin cancer. This year, some 232,000 men will be told that they have prostate cancer. This means1 in 6 men (about 16 percent) will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime in their lives. Three percent will die of the disease. But many more men will actually have prostate cancer, but not know it. Autopsy studies of men who died of other causes have found that about one-third of all men in their 50s have some traces of prostate cancer in their prostates. By age 75, half to three-quarters of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostates. Most men will never know this. And it will not matter, as most of these cancers remain latent, causing no symptoms, or are so slow to grow that they won’t ever become a serious threat to health. But as diagnostic and screening tests improve, more and more men are finding out what men from previous eras never knew — that they have cancer. And now these men are facing the decision about what to do about it.
If treatment were simple, this would not be a major issue. But it is not. All treatments come with risks of serious side effects, including impotence and incontinence. This site is dedicated to helping men understand that not all prostate cancers need treatment. Such decisions must be made by men in conjunction with their doctors, of course. Watchful Waiting seeks to assist in that decision-making process by offering information that might not otherwise be easily obtainable.