If you are diagnosed with low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you may not have treatment straightaway. Instead you may have regular check-ups to monitor the cancer. This approach is called watchful waiting (or watch and wait).
Watchful waiting doesn’t mean that nothing is done. You will see the doctor regularly to check for signs of the lymphoma progressing. Having treatment earlier than necessary can cause side effects. It can also make the lymphoma resistant to treatment, so if you need it later, it may not work as well.
Many people who have no treatment for low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma continue their usual daily activities for many years. Some people find watchful waiting hard to accept and prefer to have treatment immediately. If waiting for treatment makes you feel anxious, speak with your treatment team.
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A/Prof Christina Brown, Haematologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Khaled Aly, Consumer; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital; Katrina Debosz, CAR-T and Lymphoma Nurse Practitioner, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Dr Samuel Dickson, Radiation Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Dr Wojt Janowski, Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy Nurse Practitioner, Westmead Hospital; Sheridan Wellings, Consumer.
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