Watchful waiting is another way of monitoring prostate cancer.
This approach may be suggested if you are older and the cancer is unlikely to cause a problem in your lifetime. It may be an alternative to active treatment if the cancer is advanced at diagnosis. It can also be an option if you have other health problems that would make it hard to handle treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.
The aim of watchful waiting is to maintain quality of life rather than to treat the cancer. If the cancer spreads or causes symptoms, you will have treatment to relieve symptoms or slow the growth of the cancer, rather than to cure it. Watchful waiting usually involves fewer tests than active surveillance. You will have regular PSA tests and you probably won’t need to have a biopsy.
Choosing active surveillance or watchful waiting avoids treatment side effects, but you may feel anxious about not having active treatment. Talk to your doctors about ways to manage any worries, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
A/Prof Ian Vela, Urologic Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland University of Technology, and Urocology, QLD; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and A/Prof Surgery, The University of Adelaide, SA; Peter Greaves, Consumer; Graham Henry, Consumer; Clin Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician and Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics, and Notre Dame University Australia, WA; Henry McGregor, Men’s Health Physiotherapist, Adelaide Men’s Health Physio, SA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Dr Tom Shakespeare, Director, Radiation Oncology, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Lismore Public Hospitals, NSW; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Daffodil Centre, Cancer Council NSW; Allison Turner, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse (PCFA), Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Maria Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council QLD; Michael Walkden, Consumer; Prof Scott Williams, Radiation Oncology Lead, Urology Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Professor of Oncology, Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, The University of Melbourne, VIC.
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