Coping with “Watch and Wait”

For many people, this approach may cause worry and uncertainty. It’s important to remember that “watch and wait” is an effective approach for various reasons:

  • Medical studies have not shown that immediate treatment prolongs survival. In fact, because some treatments come with unwanted side effects, it can be preferable to wait until treatment is necessary.
  • CLL treatments are often intended to control the disease and manage its symptoms. So, until symptoms occur, treatment may be unnecessary.


If your doctor has recommended a “watch and wait” approach, there are things you can do to ensure you are as healthy as possible:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Take a vitamin D supplement
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Talk to your doctor about getting the flu shot or pneumococcal vaccine
  • Talk to your doctor about age appropriate cancer screenings
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Manage your stress
  • If you are a smoker, begin a smoking cessation program
  • Find relaxing activities to engage in while waiting for test results
  • Take an active role in your care – here are ideas on how to actively participate in your care
  • Familiarize yourself with the treatment options available, should you need to begin medical treatment
  • Closely monitor your health for any changes and know when to call your doctor
  • Connect with local support groups or the social worker at your cancer centre
  • Speak to your doctor about other ways to maintain your health during “watch and wait”