What does watchful waiting mean?

Community member asks: What does watchful waiting mean?


Community Answers
  • Carole McCue
    7 months ago

    Upon a diagnosis of certain blood cancers, i.e. NH Lymphoma, the MD may closely monitor the patient if no immediate symptoms are noted. In my personal experience, a diagnosis of Follicular Lymphoma was made in September 2010. Since I had no symptoms and the enlarged nodes were not causing an immediate threat, my oncologist decided to “watch and wait” before further treatment. This recommendation was confirmed by the second opinion of an oncologist at a cancer Center. The published research has demonstrated that the patient outcomes are unchanged whether treatment is started immediately or after the watchful waiting. I was most confused by this approach as in other cancers, treatment is begun immediately. However, my lymph nodes continued to grow, and could cause other organ damage. Therefore, I needed to begin chemotherapy within the year, July 2011.
    It is important to ask your physician to explain your particular situation.

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