Monitoring brain tumours

This may be an option for some people with low-grade or benign tumours. It means choosing to wait and see if the tumour grows and causes symptoms, or if your symptoms get worse before you have treatment. Your specialist doctor will explain the benefits and risks of monitoring.

Monitoring might be suitable for people who have small tumours. It may also be an option when an operation would be difficult because of the tumour’s position or because of the risk of complications.

Some people may have monitoring after surgery if all of the tumour hasn’t been removed. It means you may be able to delay having further surgery or radiotherapy if you don’t have symptoms that are causing problems.

When monitoring the tumour, you will see your specialist doctor regularly at a clinic. You will have regular scans to check for changes in the size of the tumour. Your doctor will tell you about possible symptoms to look out for. They will ask you to tell them straight away if you have any new symptoms, or changes in your symptoms.

You may find monitoring difficult to adjust to at first, but people find it gets easier with time. Your specialist nurse can give you support and advice on coping. Some people find it helpful to talk about how they feel with family and friends.

You may find it helpful to talk to people who may have had a similar experience to you. You could try joining a support group or online forum.

Back to Treating

Making treatment decisions

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. It can be difficult to make a decision, but information and support will help.

Surgery

You might be offered surgery to remove all or part of your brain tumour.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy targets cancer cells in a specific area of the body.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat cancer. It can be given in different ways and will be carefully planned.

Supportive and other treatments

Your specialist may give you steroids or anticonvulsants to deal with your symptoms. Always take your medication as prescribed.

After treatment

You may take some time to recover after treatment for a brain tumour. You might also find you need to get used to coping with different side effects.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.