Tests and treatments

Watchful waiting in prostate cancer

Watchful waiting (active surveillance) is a process whereby the patient’s prostate cancer is closely monitored but no treatment takes place until there are signs that the cancer is growing.

It is a new therapeutic strategy that is appropriate for some patients who have early-stage prostate cancer. The aim of this approach is to postpone invasive therapy (e.g. surgery or radiotherapy) in the early stages of cancer. By monitoring the disease carefully, invasive therapy can sometimes be delayed by years or even avoided altogether.

Participating in an active surveillance policy means that your PSA values, as well as possible symptoms and results of other tests will need regular checking. More invasive therapies (e.g. surgery or radiotherapy) will only be offered if the pattern of these results changes and indicates further development of the cancer.

Watchful waiting has the advantage of sparing patients who have early-stage cancer the pain and potential side effects of surgery or radiotherapy.

Centres and specialist areas

Centres and specialist areas

Latest publication date: 16/05/2024
Supervising author: Dr Ameye Filip