A Part of the University of Maryland Medical Center

Connect with UMGCC
Facebook Twitter YouTube Blog iPhone
Email PageEmail page Print PagePrint page

Home >Information for Patients > Dictionary Index

Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: Espera cautelosa

Watchful waiting (WACH-ful WAY-ting)
Closely watching a patient’s condition but not giving treatment unless symptoms appear or change. Watchful waiting is used in conditions that progress slowly, are hard to diagnose, or may get better without treatment. It is also used when the risks of treatment are greater than the possible benefits. During watchful waiting, patients may be given certain tests and exams. Watchful waiting is sometimes used in prostate cancer. It is a type of expectant management.

Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.