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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2004 Nov 16;31(6):1057-66.

The watchful waiting management option for older men with prostate cancer: state of the science.

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  • 1School of Nursing at Fairfield University in Connecticut, USA. <>



To summarize the recent literature and report the issues and controversies surrounding watchful waiting as a management option for prostate cancer.


All recent, published articles describing the experience, outcomes, and quality of life of men undergoing watchful waiting and the psychoeducational interventions tested in this population.


The outcomes of men living with prostate cancer often do not vary greatly from men who are cured from the disease through radical prostatectomy or brachytherapy. Limited intervention studies have been aimed at improving these outcomes among those who have chosen watchful waiting.


A paucity of information remains surrounding interventions to support men undergoing watchful waiting for prostate cancer. A consensus must be reached on who is most appropriate for watchful waiting. Watchful waiting does not mean doing nothing. Men who undergo watchful waiting should be assured that it is an active, deliberate process, not an opportunity to be overlooked by the healthcare system.


Future nursing care and research must concentrate on understanding the experience of men who are undergoing watchful waiting and interventions to improve outcomes in this population.

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