Watch and wait (active monitoring)
Watch and wait, surveillance and active monitoring all mean that your child’s tumour will be monitored regularly to check for tumour growth or worsening of symptoms.
There are a few reasons why your child may be on watch and wait:
- children who have a low-grade tumour that is unlikely to spread and is not growing
- children who have a low-grade tumour that is growing very slowly but they are experiencing few symptoms.
- children who have a low-grade tumour that has only grown a little bit on a single scan. Sometimes the doctors will want to see growth on two or three scans before starting treatment.
- sometimes, particularly in children with a condition called neurofibromatosis type 1, tumours can grow very slowly for a while then stop growing, without the need for any treatment
- The tumour is located near a critical structure or too deep for surgery to be an option.
- The side effects caused by treatment would be worse than the symptoms caused by the brain tumour.
Watch and wait is an approach that may be done prior to any treatment or after your child has had treatment. Your child’s doctor will observe and check for tumour growth or worsening of symptoms before starting treatment.
Sometimes your child may have one form of treatment (surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy), then be placed on watch and wait before they start further treatment.