Watchful waiting, also called active surveillance or expectant management, is a treatment option for individuals with slow-growing tumors, or for those who to whom the side effects of treatment are felt to be excessive. There are several reasons that patients may choose a strategy like watchful waiting:
- Men whose life expectancy is less than five years due to other health conditions
- Men whose cancer is early stage and does not appear to be aggressive
- Men whose disease is incurable and wish to maintain quality of life until the cancer progresses
It is important to remember that watchful waiting is an active management strategy that involves close monitoring by a man’s physician. If the nature of the cancer changes, a man may choose to begin therapy at that time.