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The subject of the differences between Active Surveillance (AS) and Watchful Waiting (WW) has been raised most recently; so, I thought it would be helpful to post this excerpt from an article on the American Cancer Society (ACS) website. The whole article can be accessed by cutting and pasting the following into your browser (it is a quick, easy and informative read):
Expectant management, watchful waiting, and active ...www.cancer.org › ... › Detailed Guide...ACS
Some doctors use these terms to mean the same thing. For other doctors the terms Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting mean something slightly different:
Active Surveillance is often used to mean monitoring the cancer closely with PSA blood tests, DREs, and ultrasounds at regular intervals to see if the cancer is growing. Prostate biopsies may be done as well to see if the cancer is becoming more aggressive. If there is a change in your test results, your doctor would then talk to you about treatment options.
Watchful Waiting (observation) is sometimes used to describe a less intensive type of follow-up that may mean fewer tests and relying more on changes in a man’s symptoms to decide if treatment is needed.
Not all doctors agree with these definitions or use them exactly this way. In fact, some doctors prefer to no longer use the term Watchful Waiting. They feel it implies that nothing is being done, when in fact a man is still being closely monitored. No matter which term your doctor uses, it’s very important to understand exactly what he or she means when they refer to it.