Watchful Waiting is usually offered either to older men, where the disease may grow so slowly that it may not affect the person’s quality of life, or to those whose health may not allow them to undergo a treatment such as radiotherapy or surgery.
Watchful Waiting will involve attending an out-patients’ clinic once or twice a year for regular PSA tests and possibly a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), where the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the back passage to feel the prostate. Treatments such as hormone therapy can then be considered, depending on any rise in PSA levels.
The aim of any treatment will be to delay progression of the disease or to be palliative, i.e. not intended to cure the disease.
Watchful Waiting, however, does not necessarily mean doing nothing.
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These may help in slowing the growth of the cancer cells. Your NHS Macmillan Dietician can advise you on diet and nutrition. You should, of course, consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.
PSA velocity (the rate at which the PSA increases) and/or doubling time, together with other factors, play an important part in Watchful Waiting, so it is important that a careful record is kept of your PSA results.