Active surveillance for CLL

An elderly man wearing glasses explains something to a young female doctor.

About one-third of patients with CLL have a form that grows so slowly that no treatment is needed. Instead your doctor may recommend active surveillance, also called 'watch and wait'. 

Active surveillance / watch and wait means will go to your doctor every few months for blood tests and other tests to monitor your disease. It may take years for the disease to become active, or you may never develop any symptoms.

Worried about not having treatment?

If your doctor decides not to treat your CLL, it can be stressful. You may be relieved the disease is not active but you may start to worry that it will get worse. You may also feel very anxious before your check-ups. While it's easy to say ‘don’t worry’, it's not so easy in practice. The following may help you to cope:

  • Understand active surveillance: Make sure you understand the tests, what the results mean for you and what kind of treatment you might have if the results show that you should start treatment. 

    If you have any questions or worries about not having treatment, ask a doctor or nurse. You can also ask our cancer nurses - visit a Daffodil Centre or call our Support Line at 1800 200 700. We also have more information on active surveillance. 

  • Keep busy: Try to focus on the present and make the most of the time while your disease isn't active.
  • Get help with worries: Share your worries with friends or family, or join a support group. Your doctor or a medical social worker can also support you. Complementary therapies like mindfulness or massage may help – contact your local cancer support centre to see what’s available. You can also talk to our cancer nurses. They can support you and refer you for free counselling

For more information

Icon: Phone


1800 200 700

Icon: Email