With active surveillance (also known as “watch and wait” or “watchful waiting”), patients do not receive any anti-lymphoma treatments but their health and disease are monitored through regular checkup visits and follow-up evaluation procedures, such as laboratory and imaging tests. These patients continue to remain untreated as long as they do not have any symptoms and there is no evidence that the lymphoma is growing or spreading.
Doctors recommend active surveillance for selected patients with indolent (slow-growing) lymphoma, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular lymphoma (FL), and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL). This approach may be started after the initial diagnosis or after relapse, depending on the situation. Active treatment is started if the patient begins to develop lymphoma-related symptoms or if there are signs that the disease is progressing.
Active surveillance is not a treatment option for patients with aggressive (fast-growing) lymphomas. Usually, treatment for these patients should start as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Starting Active Surveillance
- What happens if I choose active surveillance and then change my mind?
- Will the disease be harder to treat later?
- How often will I have checkups?
- Between checkups, what symptoms and other problems should I report?
Learn About Lymphoma and Lymphoma Subtypes
Lymphoma is the most common type of blood cancer. Specifically, lymphoma is a cancer that affects lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.