One in six men will test positive for prostate cancer. If you are one of them, you and your doctor may choose “watchful waiting” instead of treatment. If you choose watchful waiting (or “active surveillance”), your doctor will monitor your condition, test regularly and watch for any signs that the disease is changing. You may change your mind and decide to have treatment at any time during watchful waiting.
Men choose watchful waiting for many reasons. Some early-stage prostate cancers grow very slowly and never cause problems or become life-threatening. When this is the case, watchful waiting avoids the harm treatment can cause without shortening your life.
You may also choose watchful waiting if you are older or have other health issues. If you are in your 70’s or 80’s, you may have different views about undergoing surgery or radiation than you would if you were younger.
Your doctor will explain all of your options and help you choose a strategy that fits your needs.