Active Surveillance or Watchful Waiting
Watchful waiting and active surveillance are two approaches to treating prostate cancer that are often confused. Dr.William Huang discusses how they differ in this video interview.
Active surveillance is a growing approach to prostate cancer that can be thought of as "deferral of therapy". Here, your doctor will regularly monitor your cancer using a variety of tests, such as PSA, MRI, and biopsy. Over time, if there is no evidence that the cancer is progressing, you will continue to be monitored without treatment. On the other hand, if cancer appears to be advancing, you will be offered a full range of treatment options.
Studies have shown that proper selection of patients is key to the success of an active surveillance program. At NYU Langone Medical Center, active surveillance may be offered to men who meet specific criteria for low-risk, localized prostate cancer.
Watchful waiting is a 'hands-off' approach for men who are elderly or who have other major illnesses. It is appropriate for men whodo not have a long life expectancy or who are likely to die of other diseases before dying of prostate cancer. If you adopt a watchful waiting strategy, your doctor will not treat your prostate cancer.