Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that has a slower progression than other types of leukemia. Many patients have no symptoms or other risk factors that require immediate treatment. These patients can be closely monitored using a “watch and wait” approach. During this time, patients do not take any medical treatment, but undergo regular physical exams and lab tests to monitor for any changes in their health.
“Watch and wait” is an effective approach for several reasons. First, medical studies have not shown that immediate treatment prolongs survival. In fact, because some treatments come with unwanted side effects, it is preferable to wait until treatment is necessary.
Secondly, CLL treatments are often intended to control the disease and manage its symptoms. So, until symptoms occur treatment may be unnecessary.
You can find more information on how to cope with “watch and wait” here.