Surveillance/watching

alt text

o Surveillance, observation or watching, with or without surgery, is something that can be utilized in treatment for both benign and malignant brain tumors. 

o For a benign tumor it is often possible to eliminate, or postpone, treatment and instead watch the tumor closely. This may be an option if a tumor is believed to be benign, small, growing slowly, and is not causing symptoms. 

o Surveillance alone may also be recommended for people who are older and/or those who have other serious medical problems making other interventions, such as surgery, too risky. 

o A malignant brain tumor most probably will require further treatment to insure that after the tumor is removed any remnants of the tumor, or tumor cells that might have been unseen, will be exposed to chemotherapy and/or radiation to essentially destroy them and to discourage new growth. Surveillance will be utilized in this case to watch for any signs of tumor recurrence or growth that might require further intervention. 

o Surveillance or monitoring can be in the form of an MRI or CT scan to observe the brain and any changes involving possible tumor growth that may, or may not, occur over time. The time intervals for surveillance imaging will be decided upon by your doctor (neurosurgeon or neuro-oncologist) based on the type of tumor you have and your treatment so far. An example would be: having imaging done three to six months after the first brain scan, then once per year. If the tumor remains stable the interval time may increase. In addition, if the tumor remains unchanged surveillance alone may be all that is required yet if the tumor begins to grow or cause symptoms, treatment may be recommended.