CLL: What is 'watch & wait' and what can a patient do during this phase?
Many newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients are in the early-stage and do not meet the typical criteria to begin treatment. This may go against what is commonly known to many in that, typically, catching cancers early and beginning treatment immediately achieves the best possible outcome.
"This can be quite unnerving to patients," says Mayo Clinic hematologist, Sameer Parikh, M.B.B.S..
"A patient is told they are in the 'wait and watch' stage of their disease, but it can quickly turn in to 'wait and worry.'"
So what are some of the things patients can do while they are in the waiting protocol? Dr. Parikh gives a few suggestions:
- Meet with a dermatologist annually, including time of diagnosis
- Get all age-appropriate vaccinations, but try to avoid 'live' vaccines
- Meet with primary care physician to discuss additional testing such as mammograms, pap smear, colonoscopy, etc. due to increased risk of additional cancers
- Follow-up with your CLL specialist on a regular basis
Watch the full video below to learn more about CLL, watch and wait, and how you can be proactive during your waiting phase.