Purpose: We reviewed recent series of watchful waiting for prostate cancer to place this management strategy in appropriate perspective
Materials and methods: We reviewed the literature and analyzed the 9 articles on watchful waiting published in leading medical journals in the last decade.
Results: Watchful waiting is probably the best treatment option for men with well and perhaps moderately differentiated, low volume prostate cancer who have a life expectancy of less than 10 years. However, the conclusions derived from watchful waiting studies of older men cannot and should not be applied to younger, healthier men or to those with more advanced or aggressive disease. If treated ineffectively, many of these men will die of prostate cancer.
Conclusions: Most men with prostate cancer who have a life expectancy greater than 10 to 15 years should be treated with curative intent.