With the increased use of modern imaging, small tumors are being detected much more often. Although many of those cancers can be easily removed using minimally invasive techniques, many patients, especially those with advanced age or significant comorbidities, are understandably reluctant to undergo surgery. Active surveillance is the art of monitoring a tumor to see if it grows or changes, and it is clearly the most minimally invasive treatment possible.
To perform responsible active surveillance, clinicians need a better understanding of cancer biology to identify those tumors unlikely to become dangerous. FAMIS-supported researchers will soon report the largest single-center series in the world describing active surveillance of small kidney cancers. This information will help physicians and surgeons optimize patient care by avoiding unnecessary surgeries whenever possible.