Active monitoring for a brain tumour

This may be an option for some people with low-grade tumours.

What is active monitoring?

If the tumour is not causing you problems, your doctor may suggest active monitoring. This means regularly checking the brain tumour to find out if it is changing or growing. Instead of starting treatment, you may see your specialist doctor regularly at a clinic and have scans to check the tumour. This can help your doctor know if and when to recommend treatment.

Your doctor will also ask you to contact them straight away if you have any new or changing symptoms. You can start treatment if your scan results or your symptoms show that the tumour is growing.

Who has active monitoring?

Active monitoring is not suitable for everyone. Your specialist doctor will explain the benefits and possible risks.

Active monitoring might be helpful if:

  • treating a tumour would be difficult because of its position
  • treatment side effects are likely to be worse than the symptoms caused by the tumour
  • you have a small, low-grade tumour with few or no symptoms.

Some people have active monitoring before they have any treatment. But sometimes you are able to choose to have active monitoring after surgery. This may mean you can delay having further treatment, such as radiotherapy, until you need it.

Support while you have active monitoring

You may find active monitoring difficult at first. But people usually find it gets easier with time. Your specialist nurse can give you support and advice on coping. You might find it helpful to talk about how you feel with family and friends. Or you may want to talk to people who are in a similar situation. You could try joining a support group or online forum.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 October 2019
Next review: 01 October 2021

This content is currently being reviewed. New information will be coming soon.

Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.