What happens after completion of the treatment?
This is where the stage known as follow-up, or monitoring of the patient’s development, is initiated. It is advisable to perform as few tests as possible and only those deemed truly necessary in order to avoid affecting the patient’s quality of life.
Doesn’t the type of follow-up depend on each individual case, according to the TNM, etc?
Indeed it does. Let’s take a look at different scenarios and see what corresponding follow-up is recommended:
a) In the event that a “deferred” treatment has been selected, the patient should be checked for symptoms and undergo PSA every six months; should the results be inconclusive, a rectal examination should be carried out. If all results are negative, the following check-up methods should be applied.
If, conversely, symptoms are observed, or 2 or 3 PSA (one each month) indicate a gradual rise, or the rectal examination raises suspicions, a general comprehensive check-up must be carried out (transrectal ultrasound, bone scintigraphy , abdominal TAC) and if the illness is confirmed, it is treated according to its current state.
b) When the cancer is confined to the prostate and treated with radiotherapy or by prostatectomy, PSA must be carried out twice a year for five years and from the sixth year onward, on a once yearly basis. In the absence of complications, one should proceed as per the previous section.
c) If the tumour has spread to the lymph nodes or has produced metastases, the course of action depends on the treatment and its outcome.