Watch and wait for low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Doctor and patient

There may be little or no benefit to treatment if the lymphoma is very slow growing and not causing any symptoms. It may be the best option for you as you will still be closely monitored, but you won’t have any of the side-effects that treatment can cause. Watch and wait can last for months if not years.


During this time, you will have regular check-up visits and all the support you need. Your doctors will check your condition with physical exams, blood tests and possibly scans. Based on these results, they can decide when it’s time to start treatment and look at your options.

What should I look out for? 

Watch for any B symptoms like high temperatures or fevers, night  sweats, weight loss or poor appetite, or an itchy rash. These might mean the lymphoma is becoming active. Tell your medical team if you have symptoms.

Worried about not having treatment?

It is natural to feel uneasy and worried if you are not receiving treatment. In fact, you may feel that your doctors are doing nothing about your lymphoma. You may even think that you are too old to treat or that the disease is too advanced. Remember watch and wait is a recognised standard of care if you have no symptoms. It also means you avoid any harmful side-effects of treatment. 

If you have any questions or worries about not having treatment, ask a doctor or nurse. You can also visit a Daffodil Centre or call our Support Line to speak to a cancer nurse.

Treatment can be delayed for as long as you are feeling well.

When does treatment begin?

Your doctor might start treatment when symptoms develop. For example, if your lymph nodes are getting larger or new ones are affected. You might also need treatment if your blood cell count has decreased, and you feel unwell, or your bone marrow or other organs are affected.

For more information

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1800 200 700

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