If you are one of the one in six men who tests positive for prostate cancer, you may consult with your doctor and choose “watchful waiting” instead of treatment. During watchful waiting (or “active surveillance”), your doctor will monitor you closely, test regularly and watch for any signs that the disease is changing. At any time during watchful waiting, you may change your mind and decide to have treatment.

There are many reasons some men choose watchful waiting. Many early-stage prostate cancers grow very slowly and never cause problems or become life-threatening. In this case, watchful waiting avoids the harm treatment can cause without shortening your life.

You may also choose watchful waiting based on your age or other health issues. If you are in your 70’s or 80’s, you may have different views about undergoing surgery or radiation than you might if you were younger.

Your doctor will explain all of your options and help you choose a strategy that fits your needs and lifestyle.