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Watchful waiting for neuroblastoma
Watchful waiting is also called observation or surveillance. It means that the healthcare team watches closely for signs or symptoms of disease rather than giving treatment right away. Treatment is given when the signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma develop or change.
Watchful waiting may be a treatment option for babies younger than 12 months who have stage 4S neuroblastoma with favourable prognostic factors and no symptoms. These tumours often disappear without treatment (called spontaneous regression) or develop into a non-cancerous ganglioneuroma.
This approach helps avoid problems or side effects that can happen with other treatments. Try to keep this in mind if you are worried that nothing is being done to treat your child. Talk to your child’s healthcare team for more information about watchful waiting.
There isn’t any evidence so far that watchful waiting reduces long-term survival or has other negative effects if or when the child starts treatment.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.