Living with a low grade tumour
Please watch our live panel discussion on living with a low grade tumour. It is chaired by Gideon Burrows, who is living with a low grade tumour.
For some low grade, slow growing tumours that are unlikely to spread, a 'watch and wait' approach may be used. This means closely monitoring your condition without giving any treatment unless symptoms develop, or worsen, or your scan changes.
The most common types of brain tumours to receive a watch and wait approach are newly diagnosed low grade gliomas (grade 1 or 2 astrocytomas, grade 2 oligodendrogliomas) and grade 1 meningiomas.
For tumours that are typically slow growing, unlikely to spread and may not cause any, or only a few, symptoms for many years, a 'watch and wait' approach may be used rather than give treatments that can cause considerable side-effects.
Examples where this might be the case include:
'Watch and wait' is also sometimes used after initial treatment, such as biopsy or debulking surgery, where part of the tumour is removed, before giving other treatments that could cause worse side-effects.
If on 'watch and wait', you will see your specialist for regular check ups/MRI scans every 3, 6 or 12 months. You might begin treatment if:
Depending on your tumour and age, this could take many years, or not happen at all.
Being told that you have a brain tumour, but no active treatment will be given until it grows bigger, or becomes more aggressive, can be very frightening. The time between appointments can also seem very long, leaving you feeling isolated.
Some things that can help include:
Some people feel more secure by wearing a medic-alert bracelet in case of accidents or seizures.
If you are uncertain about the decision to watch and wait, you can ask your consultant or health team for a second or further opinion, either on the NHS or privately.
Although there is not a legal right to have a second opinion a healthcare professional will rarely refuse to refer for one. They will not be offended and your care will not be affected.
Page last reviewed: 05/2014
Next review due: 05/2017
If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)
01252 749 999
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00
You can also join our active online community on Facebook - find out more about our groups.