Prostate cancer is one the most common cancers and the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Indeed, the survival rates for prostate cancers are not very encouraging with one in every 36 men dying of the disease. While early detection and proper care are the key to eliminating prostate cancer, a proper post-treatment regime should be followed to ensure there is no recurrence and also to maintain a positive outlook. The New American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care released a set of guidelines Tuesday addressing the long-term primary care for prostate cancer survivors.

An expert panel was set up by the American Cancer Society as part of the work of the National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center, a project of the ACS. Members of the panel outlined follow-up care in an effort to ensure post-treatment prostate cancer survivors receive adequate and necessary long-term care by primary care clinicians to maintain quality of life. They discussed surveillance for recurrence and screening for second primary cancers and the assessment and management of physical and psychosocial long-term and late effects resulting from prostate cancer and its treatment.

The guidelines stress the need for proper information being collected through various stages of treatments. Survivor and caregiver information needs to be assessed and support services should be recommended if necessary. According to the guidelines, primary caregivers should evaluate the level of participation of survivors in physical and mental programs designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. Obese survivors should receive routine assessments of weight and proper counseling on diet.

The guidelines also include a need to educate survivors on the advantages of physical exercise and the impact of smoking on prostate cancer recurrence. Another topic mentioned is the need for monitoring to prevent recurrence. Patients should undergo PSA serum testing and should adhere to routine ACS screening for early detection of any new cancers.

Caregivers are also advised to conduct physical and psychosocial assessment of survivors and outline strategies for self-management and clinical management of the disease. "We are hopeful that the hard work that went into the development of these much-needed guidelines will pay off in improved care for the approximately 240,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. The adoption of these guidelines will be a critical step forward to improve the delivery of prostate cancer survivorship care," said Rebecca Cowens-Alvarado, principal investigator for the National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center, director of Cancer Control Mission Strategy at the American Cancer Society, and co-author of the report, in a press release.

Prostate cancer survivors represent more than four in 10 male cancer survivors and one in five of all cancer survivors in the United States. Treatment options for prostate cancer varies from radiation, chemotherapy, surgery to hormone therapy, vaccine treatment, and bone directed treatment. But the fear of cancer recurring even after a secondary line of treatment can be quite stressful for patients. To address such issues, these guidelines were set up for long-term post-treatment care using a combined approach of evidence synthesis and expert consensus.