Will My Cancer Become More Aggressive With Watchful Waiting?

Dr. David Chen answers the question: 'Watchful Waiting And Aggressive Cancer?'

March 16, 2009 -- Question: Will my cancer become more aggressive with watchful waiting?

Answer: Watchful waiting can be used for different levels of cancer, but is primarily aimed at managing what we would consider to be less aggressive in favorable types of prostate cancer. It is not believed that a cancer becomes more aggressive with time -- that men who have an aggressive cancer probably start out with an aggressive cancer, and so if you choose watchful waiting for your cancer, and it is a less aggressive or felt to be a favorable cancer in the beginning, it would be watched closely, but is not likely to become more aggressive in the future.

What can happen is in the course of surveillance, if the cancer seems to get worse, it may simply be that when we initially evaluated the cancer, we underestimated its potential.