Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, with a growing chance of suffering from the disease with increasing age. These are often cases of less aggressive tumors that can grow very slowly over a period of many years. In order to avoid “over-treatment” in these low-risk patients, the concepts of “active monitoring” and “watch-and-wait” have been developed.
The “watch-and-wait” concept involves nothing more than pure monitoring: all kinds of therapy are avoided for the time being, and the tumor is very closely observed.
According to official guidelines, this approach can be used in patients whose cancer is limited to the confines of the prostate, who have already reached an age of at least 70, and whose life expectancy comes to less than 10 years. The underlying consideration is that any therapy may cause significantly more harm to these patients than the disease itself would cause them.
In such a case of prostate cancer, not requiring treatment, but in need of monitoring, maintrac® can be of use for long-term monitoring. It is advisable to carry out cell counts of the circulating tumor cells in the blood at least every 3 to 6 months. If a significant increase in circulating tumor cells is discovered during the maintrac® cell counts, further diagnostic tests, and depending on the specific case, treatment of the prostate cancer are recommended.
Click here to read more about which other treatment choices are available for prostate cancer, and how maintrac® can be beneficial during treatment.
Furthermore, tests to determine the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) or the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) can be beneficial in the “watch-and-wait” scenario. These are proteins which are predominantly expressed by prostate cells, and can be used to track progress over the course of the disease. If maintrac®identifies an increase in the cells carrying this tumor marker, then further examinations should be carried out.