The question why am I not receiving any treatment often refers to watchful waiting. When everything indicates that your cancer will progress slowly and your life expectancy is less than 10 years, the doctor may prefer to wait for a possible manifestation of the disease before starting treatment. It is important, in some cases, to weigh the disadvantages of treatment against the risks of cancer.
Medically reviewed by Urologist-Surgeon Dr. Thierry Lebeau on 04/26/2022
Watchful waiting versus active surveillance
Watchful waiting is often confused with active surveillance, which is another way of monitoring prostate cancer. The goal of both approaches is to avoid unnecessary treatment, but for different reasons.
For example, active surveillance is only suitable for men with slowly growing cancer that has not spread outside the prostate (localized cancer) and who would benefit from treatment such as surgery or radiation therapy if needed.
Waiting keeps an eye on your cancer
Watch-and-wait is a monitoring modality that keeps an eye on your cancer and initiates treatment only when it causes symptoms, in order to treat them. In this case, the goal of any future treatment will not be to cure your cancer but to control your symptoms. This is called palliative treatment.
In other words, watchful waiting may be right for you if your prostate cancer is not causing any symptoms or problems and:
- treatments may not help you live longer
- your prostate cancer is unlikely to cause problems during your lifetime or reduce your life expectancy
If your doctor has offered you watchful waiting, your follow-up will include a PSA test, a physical exam, including a digital rectal examination (DRE), bone scan or other tests as needed, and if your cancer progresses, your doctor might suggest a treatment.
Here we must not generalize, because it is case by case.
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease, our expert lectures and webinars, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you, our events and ways to get involved in advancing the cause.
You have questions or concerns? Don’t hesitate. You can chat with us or contact us at 1-855-899-2873 to discuss with one of our nurses specialized in uro-oncology. They are there to listen, support and answer your questions, as well as those of your family or loved ones. It’s simple and free, like all of our other services.
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