Watch and Wait

What does watch and wait really mean? With lymphoma, Watch and Wait is a term used by the medical profession to describe a period in the treatment of lymphoma in which little or no standard treatment is employed. This may be for the following reasons:

  • The lymphoma is slow growing (indolent)
  • The lymphoma may not respond well to chemotherapy or radiation therapy in its current state
  • The patient is living comfortably with few side effects from the disease

Why try such an approach? Studies have been done to determine if watch and wait, as described above, gives equal or better treatment than aggressive treatments from the start. Promising results have come from such approaches to treatment. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have side effects which may reduce the patient's quality of life. If the patient is not in danger and their quality of life can be extended until the lymphoma is either aggressive or problematic, then the patient benefits.

This does not mean the medical professionals are giving up or refusing treatment. During this time patients are most likely to:

  • Receive periodic medical tests including scans and blood tests
  • See their doctors on a regular basis
  • Be told of symptoms which they should report to their doctor immediately

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