If I Choose Watchful Waiting, Can I Have Treatment Later?

Dr. David Chen answers the question: 'Treatment After Watchful Waiting?'

March 16, 2009 -- Question: If I choose watchful waiting, can I have treatment later?

Answer: Watchful waiting as the management for prostate cancer isn't a permanent commitment. So in the course of future surveillance, if the cancer appears to be worse or growing or progressing, we could choose to go ahead with treatment -- whether surgery or radiation. The advantage of the active surveillance or watchful waiting is until the cancer seems to be worse, there isn't a commitment to treatment, and there isn't the associated potential side effects. If the cancer does seem to get worse, we could certainly go on to a primary therapy.