The treatment plan depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Doctors also consider the patient’s age and general health. Often, the goal of treatment is to cure the cancer. In other cases, the goal is to control the disease or to reduce symptoms for as long as possible. The treatment plan may change over time.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to decide on a treatment plan that is best for you.
Closely monitoring a patient’s condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called observation.
Often watchful waiting is recommended in situations with a high likelihood of self-resolution, in situations where there is high uncertainty concerning the diagnosis, and in situations where the risks of intervention or therapy may outweigh the benefits.
Watchful waiting is often recommended for many common illnesses such as ear infections; because the majority of cases resolve spontaneously, antibiotics will often be prescribed only after several days of symptoms. It is also a strategy frequently used in surgery prior to a possible operation, when it is possible for a symptom (for example abdominal pain) to either improve naturally or become worse.
MD Anderson Cancer Center. Watchful Waiting. Retrieved October 15, 2011 from http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/glossary-of-cancer-terms/w.html
National Institute of Health. Watchful Waiting 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011 from http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?cdrid=45942
Wikipedia. Watchful Waiting. Retrieved September 23, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchful_waiting
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