Watch & Wait

If your CLL is slow growing and not causing you serious symptoms, you likely will not have treatment right away. This approach is called 'watch and wait' or 'watchful waiting' or 'active monitoring'.

Watch and wait is a strategy where doctors monitor you closely, but do not treat you until symptoms appear or change. Watch and wait is the recommended care for those who do not meet any of the indications for treatment listed in the table above.

This does not mean your cancer is being ignored by your medical team. During the watch and wait period, you will meet regularly with your cancer specialist to monitor changes in your disease and overall health. At these appointments, your doctor will examine you and do blood tests. They will also ask how you are feeling and about any symptoms you have.

The results of exams and blood tests over time will help your doctor determine if you need treatment and the type of treatment you should have.

Understandably, many people worry their CLL will get worse if they don't have treatment. It is natural to want treatment if you have cancer. Studies comparing watch and wait with early treatment have shown there is no benefit to early treatment for patients with asymptomatic CLL. Furthermore, some patients will never need treatment for their CLL. And with watch and wait, you can avoid the side effects of treatment until it is needed.