Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is another method of monitoring prostate cancer. This involves regular PSA tests and clinic check-ups. The monitoring process is less strict than for active surveillance, and further biopsies are not usually required. Treatment can be considered if the cancer spreads and/or causes symptoms. The aim of treatment will be to treat symptoms that may be causing problems, rather than cure the prostate cancer.

Watchful waiting may be suitable for older men where the cancer is unlikely to cause a problem in their lifetime. Some men choose watchful waiting instead of immediate cancer treatment if the cancer is already advanced. It can also be an option for men with other health problems that would make it hard to handle treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.

Choosing active surveillance or watchful waiting avoids treatment
side effects, but some men have ongoing anxiety about the cancer.
Before deciding not to have treatment, think about ways to manage
any worries. Talk to your doctors, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

This information was last reviewed in March 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Ask a health professional or someone who’s been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer Information

Patient rights and responsibilities
What you can reasonably expect from your health care providers

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends