Value of Simple Yearly Follow-up Examinations:
Monitoring your progress
As with all cancers, patients who
undergo radical prostatectomy
need to be followed routinely.
The yearly checkup is simple. You need
to have a carefully performed rectal examination to exclude the presence of local
recurrence and blood samples must
be obtained for the measurement of acid
phosphatase and PSA. Bone scans, CT
scans and simple radiologic studies are
unnecessary If the tests outlined above
produce normal results, it is unlikely that
other expensive or invasive procedures
will yield useful information.
Why are these studies necessary?
It is easy to assume that after an operation for cancer all is well, and there is no
need for further evaluation. However, it is
possible that the cancer may return
either at distant sites or, rarely, locally.
Fortunately, if the recurrence is detected
early it can be treated easily and effectively Clearly, you need yearly examinations
so that additional treatment, if
necessary, can be administered promptly.
The follow-up visits should not be difficult. If you choose to return to Johns
Hopkins, I would enjoy seeing you. The
examinations can also be performed
easily by your local doctor. In any case,
please have the results of your yearly examinations sent to me so that I can continue
to monitor your progress.