Watchful waiting is not the same as active surveillance. It is an option for older men who have prostate cancer but do not have any obvious symptoms from the disease and who do not want any treatment for the cancer that may have side effects and therefore affect their future quality of life.It is also an option for younger men who may not be medically fit for treatment such as surgery or radiotherapy who again do not have any obvious symptoms.
Men who opt for watchful waiting are reviewed on a regular basis by their urologist or GP with a PSA blood test. Should they begin to develop any urinary problems or experience pain which could be related to cancer spread then treatment usually with hormonal therapy will be started. This treatment is not a curative treatment but one aimed at controlling the disease.
Last reviewed November 2019. Next review November 2020.
References available on request.