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Prostate Cancer - Watchful Waiting

When considering treatment and surgical options for their patients, doctors may recommend watchful waiting, also called active surveillance. Patients who opt for watchful waiting are asked to schedule regular medical checkups and also report any new symptoms to their doctor immediately. During the checkups, tests will be performed to find out if the cancer is becoming more aggressive.

If the cancer begins to grow at a fast rate or if symptoms get worse, active treatment may be offered. Treatment and surgical options will depend on many factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, cancer stage and personal preference.

Watchful waiting may be recommended to older men with slow-growing, localized prostate cancer (confined to the prostate gland). It may also be recommended to men who have other serious health problems.1

Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of all other treatment and surgical options. Together, you can decide what is best for you.

  1. American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer - Watchful Waiting. Available from:

All surgery presents risk, including da Vinci Surgery. Results, including cosmetic results, may vary. Serious complications may occur in any surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious and life-threatening complications, which may require hospitalization, include injury to tissues or organs; bleeding; infection, and internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction or pain. Temporary pain or nerve injury has been linked to the inverted position often used during abdominal and pelvic surgery. Patients should understand that risks of surgery include potential for human error and potential for equipment failure. Risk specific to minimally invasive surgery may include: a longer operative time; the need to convert the procedure to an open approach; or the need for additional or larger incision sites. Converting the procedure to open could mean a longer operative time, long time under anesthesia, and could lead to increased complications. Research suggests that there may be an increased risk of incision-site hernia with single-incision surgery. Patients who bleed easily, have abnormal blood clotting, are pregnant or morbidly obese are typically not candidates for minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery. Other surgical approaches are available. Patients should review the risks associated with all surgical approaches. They should talk to their doctors about their surgical experience and to decide if da Vinci is right for them. For more complete information on surgical risks, safety and indications for use, please refer to

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