In today’s fast-paced world, waiting — whether it’s at the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store or for an Internet connection — is rarely considered a good thing.
But when it comes to certain medical conditions, delaying treatment while regularly monitoring the progress of disease — a strategy doctors refer to as “watchful waiting,” active surveillance or expectant management — may benefit some patients more than a rush to pharmaceutical or surgical options.
Patients want to know what they’re waiting for, says urologic oncologist E. David Crawford, MD, chairman of the Prostate Conditions Education Council and associate director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The purpose is to watch in order to see whether a condition progresses. That way, patients and physicians know what kind of threat a disorder poses and they can make a better decision about how urgently treatment is needed. Some people might never need treatment, for instance with a slow-growing cancer. Other people can delay treatment for months or years.
Precancerous conditions may also be monitored with active surveillance. One example is Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*