Lymphoma Treatment: Watch and Wait

The "Watch and Wait" or watchful waiting treatment is used on indolent (slow growing) cancers. It means that a doctor does not actively treat a patient but monitors the growth of the disease.

Why is this done? In some cases, cancer is caught in its very early stages, when it is less responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The watch and wait method is used to ensure that when treatment is started, it is effective.

If a patient is living comfortably and doesn’t experience any uncomfortable side effects from their cancer, then the watch and wait method is often the doctor’s first choice. During this time, the patient will undergo frequent medical tests to determine the stage of the disease.

Once the cancer evolves into a treatable stage, then other treatment options are pursued. This may involve chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these.

The benefits of the watch and wait method are proven. Studies have examined cases where this method is used and have found that it doesn’t decrease a patient’s chance of survival when used properly. In fact, it is often helpful. Since most cancer treatments are harmful to the body, waiting to administer them until they are the most effective reduces damage to the patient.

The watch and wait method is never used on aggressive cancers. It is rarely used on cancers in advanced stages, unless the tumors are extremely slow growing.

Related Reading

Photo by Bill Branson, NCI

More Articles

More Articles

There are two types of cancer: benign and malignant. Benign cancers are the kind that don't spread and don't threaten one's life. Malignant...

Hodgkin's Disease—also referred to as Hodgkin's Lymphoma, these are the exact same diseases, just...

The Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index, or FLIPI, is a standardized guide to help oncological diagnosticians accurately calculate...

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma prognosis is contingent upon several factors, and can be determined by using a well-...

The term 'metastatic lymphoma' does not refer to a diagnosis. Unlike many of the subtypes of lymphoma we have...

Diagnosing lymphoma is one of the more difficult diagnoses to make in cancer medicine, and contrary to perception, diagnosing lymphoma is not made...

Burkitt's lymphoma is an aggressive B-cell lymphoma that is common in children...

Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHL) differs from patient to patient. The regimen used depends on the type of...

Large Cell Lymphoma (LCL) is typically an aggressive (fast growing) cancer of either the B cell or T cell type. They are one of the most common...

Follicular lymphoma is classified as a Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is an indolent (slow-growing) cancer that affects...

Aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHLs) are fast growing cancers (as opposed to indolent cancers). They involve...

Lymphoma is not difficult to diagnose once a patient and doctor begin to look for signs of cancer. However, Lymphoma–especially...

A lymphoma prognosis varies greatly depending on the type of lymphoma. There are more than 35 types of lymphoma, including 5 types of...

The lymphatic system, or lymph system, defends the body from foreign invasion by disease causing agents such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The...

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, causing B-cell or...