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What is Watchful Waiting?

Watchful waiting is a form of symptom-guided treatment. The aim is to switch to other treatment options only when symptoms appear.

The urologist will explain your condition to you, how it can develop, and how you can adjust your lifestyle to reduce your symptoms and cope with them. The urologist will closely observe your condition over the following months or years and will start treatment when needed.

This treatment is generally indicated when you are unfit for heavy treatments such as surgery. This may be related to your age or any medical conditions which make those treatments dangerous for you.

When is watchful waiting a treatment option?

Watchful waiting is often best if you are an older patient and are not a good candidate for heavy treatments like surgery. It is also good for older patients who have serious health problems that make a disease harder to treat.

Your doctor may recommend watchful waiting if other treatment options are not the best for your individual situation.

What are the benefits, risks and side effects of watchful waiting?

The two advantages of this treatment choice are low cost and no complications.

The risk of watchful waiting is that the disease could get worse, for example, cancer could grow and spread between follow-ups. This makes it harder to treat. There are no direct side effects of this treatment.

Discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of watchful waiting and if it is right for you.