Active surveillance for brain and spinal cord tumours
Active surveillance may be a treatment option for some types of low-grade brain or spinal cord tumours. This means that your healthcare team watches your tumour closely rather than giving treatment right away. They will use tests and exams to check if the tumour is progressing or your condition is getting worse. Treatment is given when you develop symptoms or the tumour changes.
This approach helps avoid side effects that can happen with treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy. There is no evidence so far that people won’t live as long when they get active surveillance compared to other treatments. There is no evidence that active surveillance has other negative effects if or when you start treatment.
Expert review and references
American Cancer Society. Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults. 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003088-pdf.pdf.
Chang S, Mehta M, Vogelbaum M, Taylor M, Ahluwalia M . Neoplasms of the central nervous system. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 97:1412-1455.
National Cancer Institute. Adult Central Nervous System Tumors Treatment for Health Professionals (PDQ®). 2016: http://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/hp/adult-brain-treatment-pdq#section/all.