What's the difference between active surveillance and watchful waiting?
Active surveillance is often confused with watchful waiting – this is another way of monitoring prostate cancer. The aim of both is to avoid having unnecessary treatment. But there are key differences between them.
- If you need treatment, it will aim to cure the cancer.
- It is suitable for some men with cancer that is contained in the prostate (localised cancer).
- It usually involves more regular hospital tests, such as prostate biopsies and MRI scans.
- If you need treatment, it will aim to control the cancer rather than cure it.
- It’s generally suitable for men with other health problems who may be less able to cope with treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy, or whose cancer may never cause problems during their lifetime.
- It usually involves fewer tests, and these usually take place at the GP surgery rather than at the hospital.