Washington: John Shoemaker visited six doctors in his quest to find the best treatment for his early stage prostate cancer — and only the last one offered what made the most sense to the California man: Keep a close watch on the tumor and treat only if it starts to grow.Very few men choose this active surveillance option. Yet Shoemaker is one of more than 100,000 men a year deemed candidates for it by a government panel. That`s because their prostate cancer carries such a low risk of morphing into the kind that could kill.The risk for them is so low, in fact, that specialists convened recently by the National Institutes of Health say it`s time to strip the name "cancer" off these small, lazy tumors.In the meantime, the panel wants more of those men offered the option of delaying treatment until regular check-ups show it`s really needed. That endorsement promises to fuel efforts by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a few other groups to spread the word to the newly diagnosed.Shoemaker`s journey shows how difficult that may be, from doctors who don`t even bring it up to the fear factor."With prostate cancer, you hear the "C`` word, so to speak, and people freak out," says Shoemaker, 69, a businessman from Los Altos, Calif., who was intent on examining all his options.
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